5 Expert-Approved Exercises to Heal A Sprained Wrist Fast

Woman sitting on a couch holding wrist in pain.
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Are you tired of walking around with a limp wrist after spraining it? Whether you got it from a sports injury or a simple slip and fall, a sprained wrist can be a real pain - literally.

When a wrist sprain occurs, it's typically due to a sudden twist or impact on the wrist, causing pain, swelling, and limited mobility. While rest and ice are important during the early stages of recovery, incorporating wrist sprain exercises can speed up healing and restore strength and flexibility to the wrist. If you're recovering from a mild or moderate sprain, these exercises can help you get back to feeling normal again.

In this blog post, you will learn when and how to start exercising to aid in recovery, along with various exercises for a sprained wrist.

When to Start Exercising a Sprained Wrist

The appropriate time to start exercising a sprained wrist depends on the severity of the injury and the symptoms experienced. It's important to rest and address swelling in the wrist before starting any exercises.

  • Low-grade sprain (grade I): If you are experiencing a low-grade sprain, it is generally recommended to take a minimum of 48 hours to allow for rest and to manage any pain before gradually incorporating simple wrist exercises.
  • Moderate sprain (grade II): For a moderate sprain, more time is needed for recovery. Typically, a resting period of 3-14 days is necessary before initiating any wrist exercises. Once you start to experience a decrease in pain and swelling, you can gradually begin with wrist exercises and monitor any feedback.
  • Complete tear (grade III): In the case of a complete tear, a more extensive recovery period is required. It's advisable to allow for rest for 2-6 weeks, followed by bracing or wrapping, and possibly even surgery. It's important to prioritize rest during this time to minimize the risk of further instability and injury. You should focus on keeping the rest of your arm as immobile as possible until you are cleared by your doctor to begin any wrist exercises.

Read More: Wrist Pain? Signs You Might Have a Hairline Fracture

It's important to be mindful of how your wrist responds to any exercise program, as significant aggravation of symptoms suggests that you may have overdone it and should dial back before resuming your exercise routine.

Can You Exercise with a Sprained Wrist in a Bandage?

If you have a sprained wrist, your healthcare professional may recommend wearing a wrist brace or bandage to support and protect your wrist during activities. While it is possible to exercise with a sprained wrist in a bandage, it is essential to choose exercises that do not put excessive strain on the wrist joint. Additionally, you should avoid exercises that cause pain or discomfort.

Read more: Do I Need a Cast for a Sprained Wrist?

How to Exercise a Sprained Wrist

Two women performing wrist exercices
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When starting wrist sprain exercises, it is crucial to start with gentle, low-impact exercises and gradually increase the intensity and duration of the exercises. Additionally, it is essential to listen to your body and stop any exercise that causes pain or discomfort.

Here are some tips for exercising a sprained wrist:

  • Warm-up before exercising: Before starting any exercises, warm-up your wrist by gently moving it in circular motions.
  • Start with gentle exercises: Begin with gentle exercises such as wrist circles, and gradually progress to more challenging exercises as your wrist heals.
  • Use lightweight equipment: Use lightweight dumbbells or water bottles to perform exercises that require weights.
  • Avoid high-impact activities: Avoid activities that put excessive strain on the wrist joint, such as push-ups, planks, or weightlifting.
  • Stretch after exercising: After completing your exercises, stretch your wrist by gently pulling your fingers back towards your forearm.

Exercises for a Sprained Wrist

  1. Wrist Flexion and Extension

Wrist flexion and extension exercises target the muscles responsible for bending and straightening the wrist. 

To perform wrist flexion and extension exercises, you will need a lightweight dumbbell or water bottle. Here are the steps:

  1. Hold a lightweight dumbbell or a water bottle in your hand. 
  2. Sit on a chair with your forearm resting on a table, and your hand hanging over the edge. 
  3. Slowly bend your wrist upwards towards your forearm, keeping your elbow still. Hold this position for a few seconds. 
  4. Slowly lower your wrist back down to the starting position
  5. Repeat this motion for 10-15 repetitions. 
  6. Next, turn your hand over so that your palm is facing up. 
  7. Slowly bend your wrist downwards towards your forearm, keeping your elbow still. Hold this position for a few seconds. 
  8. Slowly raise your wrist back up to the starting position. 
  9. Repeat this movement for 10-15 repetitions.
  1. Wrist Supination and Pronation 

Wrist supination and pronation exercises can be helpful in the recovery of a sprained wrist. These exercises involve rotating the wrist in a clockwise and counterclockwise direction, respectively.

To perform wrist supination and pronation exercises, you will need a lightweight dumbbell, water bottle, or can of soup. Here are the steps:

  1. Sit leaning forward with your legs slightly spread. Then place your forearm on your thigh with your affected hand and wrist in front of your knee.
  2. Hold a lightweight dumbbell or water bottle in your hand with your palm facing downwards.
  3. Keeping your wrist straight, rotate your forearm and wrist to move your palm upwards and towards your body.
  4. Then, slowly move your wrist back to the starting position. 
  5. Repeat this movement for 10 repetitions.
  6. To work on wrist pronation, hold the weight with your palm facing upwards. Rotate your forearm and wrist to move your palm downwards and away from your body.
  7. Then, slowly move your wrist back to the starting position. 
  8. Repeat for 10 repetitions.
  9. As you become more comfortable with the exercise, gradually increase the weight of the object. However, make sure that you do not strain your wrist or arm muscles by using too heavy a weight.
  1. Grip Strengthening
Closeup image of a hand holding a grip strengthener

Grip strength is an essential aspect of fitness that is often overlooked. It is crucial for everyday activities such as carrying groceries, opening jars, and even typing on a keyboard. For individuals recovering from a wrist sprain, grip-strengthening exercises are vital for regaining strength and mobility in the affected wrist

To perform grip-strengthening exercises, you will need a soft ball or hand gripper. A soft ball is an excellent starting point for beginners, while a hand gripper is more advanced. Here are the steps:

  1. To begin, select a soft ball or a hand gripper that suits your grip strength level.
  2. Hold the ball or gripper in your hand with your fingers wrapped around it. Ensure that your thumb is positioned on the opposite side of the other fingers.
  3. Squeeze the ball or gripper as hard as you can using your fingers and thumb. Ensure that you are not using your palm to squeeze.
  4. After holding the squeeze for a few seconds, release the ball or gripper slowly. Do not let go of the equipment too quickly.
  5. Repeat the squeezing and releasing motion for ten repetitions. Ensure that you take a short break between each repetition to avoid straining your hand muscles.
  6. Once you have completed ten repetitions, increase the number of repetitions gradually. You can start with fifteen repetitions and work your way up to twenty-five or thirty repetitions over time.
  1. Wrist Curls 

Wrist curls are an effective exercise for building strength and size in the forearm muscles. Wrist curls work the flexor and extensor muscles in the forearms, which are responsible for wrist movements and grip strength.

To perform wrist curls, you will need a dumbbell or a barbell. Here are the steps:

  1. Sit on a bench with your feet flat on the floor.
  2. Hold the dumbbell or barbell with an underhand grip and rest your forearms on the bench, with your wrists hanging over the edge.
  3. Slowly curl your wrists up towards your forearms, keeping your elbows and forearms stationary.
  4. Pause for a moment at the top of the movement, then slowly lower your wrists back down to the starting position.
  5. Repeat for the desired number of reps.

5. Resisted Wrist Pronation and Supination

Woman performing wrist exercices with resistance band

Resisted forearm pronation exercises can help strengthen the muscles of the forearm, which can support the wrist joint during the recovery process from a sprained wrist. This exercise also helps improve the flexibility and mobility of the wrist joint while reducing pain and stiffness.

To perform wrist curls, you will need a resistance band. Here are the steps:

  1. In a seated position, lean forward slightly with your legs apart. Place your affected forearm on your thigh, ensuring that your hand and wrist are in front of your knee.
  2. Hold one end of an exercise band with your palm facing upward and step on the other end. Ensure that your wrist remains straight throughout the exercise.
  3. Next, rotate your palm inward toward your thigh, taking 2 counts to complete the movement. Then, gradually return your wrist to its starting position over 5 counts.
  4. Perform this movement 8 to 12 times in a controlled manner to effectively work on your forearm pronation.

Wrist Sprain Exercises FAQ

Is it OK to exercise a sprained wrist?

Depending on the severity of the sprained wrist, it may be OK to exercise the wrist after a period of rest and rehabilitation. However, it is important to consult with a healthcare professional before engaging in any exercise or activity to ensure that it does not worsen the injury.

How long does it take for a sprained wrist to heal?

The time it takes for a sprained wrist to heal varies depending on the severity of the injury. Mild sprains may take a few days to a week to heal, while more severe sprains may take several weeks to months to fully recover.

How do you strengthen a sprained wrist?

To strengthen a sprained wrist, it is important to engage in exercises that target the muscles and tendons in the wrist and forearm. This may include wrist curls, wrist extensions, and grip-strengthening exercises. It is important to start with low resistance and gradually increase as the wrist becomes stronger. It is also important to avoid any exercises or activities that cause pain or discomfort.

Unparallelled Wrist Sprain Recovery with Cast21


Cast21 has revolutionized the recovery process for those who have undergone wrist surgery due to severe sprains. Its unique approach to wrist support and pain relief has transformed the traditional plaster cast experience.

The lightweight lattice sleeve provides the necessary support without the added weight and discomfort of a traditional plaster cast. Cast21's quick-setting formula ensures that you won't have to wait long for the sleeve to dry, and the added benefit of being waterproof allows for worry-free showering or bathing.

If you're interested in using Cast21, it's important to consult with your physician first to ensure that it aligns with your treatment plan. Additionally, you can contact Cast21 to locate a clinic in your area that offers the product.

Cast21's innovative approach to wrist support sets a new standard in post-surgery recovery by providing unparalleled comfort and convenience to patients.

Read More: What is Cast21?


  1. American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons website: "Wrist Sprains." Davis, M.F., et al, Expert Guide to Sports Medicine, American College of Physicians Press, 2005. Rouzier, P., The Sports Medicine Patient Advisor, second edition, SportsMed Press, 2004.

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