T Nation

Messed Up Left Wrist


Did a brief search of the forum and didn't come across anything similar, however if someone has already had this conversation I apologise.

For the last couple of weeks my wrist has slowly been getting more painful, It hadn't really been giving me any massive issues until yesterday when I could no longer do front squats or cleans due to being unable to bend my wrist back without severe pain.

Pain is radiating across the entire back of my wrist at the joint around on the inside towards the base of my thumb.
Also getting an ache post workout up my forearm towards my elbow where my extensors are situated.

As well as lifting I also Thai box so not sure if I've knocked it one time when I've forgotten to bring wraps or if this is an issue stemming from flexing my wrists during cleans and squats, or perhaps a build up of trigger points somewhere up my forearm or even somewhere else that I've developed from exercise with a heavy grip element. The pain on the back of my wrist during extension has been there for more than a week or so but the forearm pain is a little more recent.

Ive tried foam rolling my forearm, upper back around my shoulder and traps as well the outside of my upper arm without it noticeably reducing the pain.

Didn't know if anybody else had had similar issues? Or know what this could be stemming from?
Any guidance on this is much appreciated.

Cheers, Kane.


Do you recall hitting it, falling on it, etc? Anything make it better or worse? Can you label a photo of a wrist to show where specifically your pain is? The one thing that would concern me with the pain being located at the base of the thumb on the back of the wrist is the scaphoid bone.


Unless you plan on competing in the Oly lifts, I see absolutely no point in using the clean grip for front squats.

There is a well known trick using wrist wraps to create handles and place the wrists in a more neutral alignment. Poliquin was the first (that I'm aware of) to write up this technique. A brief internet search should yield photos.

There is also the "body builder" style of front squats in which you cross your arms. This has been criticized by at least one coach who writes for this site; his argument is that this style places one humeral head slightly higher. Perhaps this can be a genuine risk for some. Although, I've gotten around it by alternating which wrist sits on top.

Regardless, I strongly disagree when this coach went on to imply Oly grip is the correct and true way to perform the front squat. In addition to the hyper-extension at the wrists, I'm convinced it can also put unnecessary stress at the elbow for many people.

There are several devices that will allow you to front squat without the hazards. The wrist wraps is one. Another that I've used with great success is:


I've had mine for close to a year now and I can vouch for its efficacy.

Until your wrist issues are resolved, at least you have options on continuing your front squat training.


Well I was going to go on Microsoft paint and draw an arrow pointing to where the pain is radiating from on the back of my wrist however I just did a quick search for scaphoid bone on google images and there are hundreds of images with arrows pointing to the same place. So I'm guessing it's quite likely that is what could be causing it.

Edit: After taking another look at the scaphoid images this is a better image of where the pain is radiating from.


Now I think about it I recall a dodgy catch on a clean I did a week or two ago. Just messed up the catch and my wrist hurt afterwards enough for me to mention to my gym partner. Had forgotten about that. Also I was in a fight about 2 and a half weeks ago (an organised one) where I may have perhaps landed a punch off key or something; however I dont recall it being particularly painful that day. Similarly I did a bit of heavy padwork/sparring the week after that on a day when I had forgotten to bring my hand wraps. Could be a cause maybe. Not totally sure. Even if they didn't cause it they may have irritated it somewhat.

Also after 56x11's post it makes me wonder if it could have been caused by a couple of dodgy front squats I've done where one of my gyms shitty bent bars has rolled down shoulders and perhaps over-extended my wrist as I threw it off.
It could be any one of those but I'm sort of leaning towards the first.

As for things making it worse. Over extending or over flexing my wrist is pretty painful the former is way worse though. I can feel particular pain in the area pointed out above that radiates out laterally round the back of my wrist base of my thumb. Extending my hand back far enough for clean grip squats is impossible due to severe pain and seemingly a lack of flexibility, its moderately swollen around that area of the wrist. Also if I was to pull my thumb down slightly towards the inside of my wrist this replicates the pain and seems to irritate it quite a bit (yeah, wont be doing that again)

As for anything making it better, not found anything yet. Although I havent resorted to anti-inflammatory medicine yet.

I appreciate the sentiment mate, and I compeletely understand your point but I love clean grip front squats too much to give them up. I set myself a target of eventually hitting a clean grip 150kg front squat and I am determined to do so. The alternative methods will no doubt prove helpful though so thanks for those and thanks a lot for the response.


I completely empathize. I know plenty of climbers that absolutely must climb no matter what their elbows and fingers tell them. I know cyclists that absolutely must ride no matter what their knees and lower back tell them.

How's this for a game plan...

1) Get the wrist checked out. Do the rehab if it is prescribed.

2) In the mean time, try the alternative form of front squats as discussed.

When you are healthy:

3) Clean up your technique (you said yourself some of the lifts were "dodgy" I love that word btw)

4) Be proactive about keeping the wrists warm and supple during the warm up process. Also wrist mobility drills should be included as a part of the warm up. Ice post workout.

5) For heavy pressing, use wrist wraps. No point in creating additional trauma.