T Nation

Training Around Wrist Pain

I suddenly developed a pain in my wrist on the outside (while palms facing down) if i try to curl.

I can pretty much do any exercise within my routine except for:

curls (i can do hammer curls and rope curls)
Reverse rows
pull ups where palms face me
flies with dumbbells ( i can do them on the machine)
Low cable flyes

I took a week off training and did the whole RICE thing and i really want to get back in the gym, mainly because i just ordered my first batch of indigo 3g.

If i work around the injury and maybe ice it a couple of times a day will it continue to heal as I’m not aggravating it.

I don’t think taking a month off the gym would be much different to working around the injury.

Any advice from people with past experience.

(I had shoulder and elbow injuries before and i worked around them and they healed perfectly.)


Just do stuff that doesn’t hurt. Unless it’s blinding pain it’ll heal up most likely.

My wrists come and go as to whether they hate me or not. I’m a big fan of wrist wraps, but only when you absolutely need them on.

Training around it doesn’t necessarily treat the problem, doesn’t identify the problem and could even lead to worse symptoms and further delay in your training. The wrist is unfortunately a complex joint with multiple bones and articulations that could be involved. Scar tissue in there from improper healing could hinder your ROM and cause future problems. I had a TFCC injury from boxing that immediately resulted in loss of grip strength some swelling and even bruising, and it took a while to get back to 100%.

A few questions to ask yourself:

How did the injury happen? (Take steps to prevent it from happening again by improving grip strength or emphasizing forearm recovery)
Was it sudden or gradual in onset? (Sudden would imply a more acute injury which would have to go through RICE and the normal healing process, gradual would imply there’s a constant variable that is causing the pain, and may further suggest that it won’t go away unless you alter that variable in your training (less volume of exercises that involve that range of grip).

While taking off from training and focusing on mobility may be optimal in theory, it’s not in the general lifter’s/competitive athlete’s nature, so below are a few things you could do to expedite your recovery:

  1. Continue RICE: Ice (ONLY AFTER), Compress (Could include Wrist wraps and taping to add stability to the joint initially), Elevation (Unless you plan on raising your hand all day, I’d mainly focus on the first two).

  2. Warmup: For the forearm and grip, if it involves tight flexor-pronator muscles, you could warm-up with something as simple as tennis-ball squeezes, or a lighter upperbody set that doesn’t compromise the position of your wrist through the exercises.

  3. Be aware of wrist position during those exercises. If its a ligament in that location on your wrist, extension and ulnar deviation (movement towards the pinky side) can cause a pinching feeling and further pain. Aim for a neutral wrist and work up your weights within this range. You can also tape your wrist into this position to make it easier initially so that your arms don’t suffer from too light loads.

  4. SPOT YOURSELF-Consider variations of those pull and curl exercises that you can perform with a dumbbell in a single hand. Spot yourself with the other hand at the wrist or on the dumbbell and only provide the stability you need to complete the exercise in a pain-free manner.

  5. Recover-Aside from allowing appropriate time between Pull and Posterior Chain Days, consider massage or self-myofascial release of your forearm to alleviate any tension in the muscle that could be translating down to the tendons encases within the tunnels of the wrist. Supplement this with stretching by pushing your palms together (like praying) and push down. Also pull the fingers back with the arm extended.

  6. Rule out nerve impingement-If you feel tingling, numbness associated with weakness, the peripheral nerves of your forearm may be involved and I’d recommend getting a professional evaluation if basic stretching doesn’t alleviate the symptoms.

  7. Grip strengthening-Perform low level grip exercises after basic pain is gone and include both finger flexion exercises like grippers or plate pinches as well as finger extension exercises like putting a rubber band around your fingers and extending or expanding your fingers in a bucket of rice.

-Just a couple suggestions, keep me up to date on your progress and best of luck in your training.