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Exercises to Help Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Exercises to Help Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Exercises to Help Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Did you know carpal tunnel syndrome is the most common peripheral nerve compressioncondition in the US?1 The throbbing pain, tingling, numbness, and loss of wrist strength canmake even the simplest tasks feel like a challenge. We’ve put together a list of targetedexercises designed to strengthen your wrist muscles, restore mobility, and help you get agrip on the situation.

What causes Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?

Carpal tunnel syndrome is caused by compression of your median nerve as it passes through the carpal tunnel, a narrow passageway in the wrist made up of bones and ligaments.

The following carpal tunnel syndrome exercises2 help resolve symptoms by improving therange of motion and flexibility of the wrist and hand and strengthening the supportingmusculature to relieve pressure on the median nerve.

  • Wrist Flexor Stretch: Start by extending one arm in front of you with the palmfacing up. Use your other hand to gently pull back on the fingers, stretching the wristand forearm muscles. Hold the stretch for 15-30 seconds, then switch sides. Repeatseveral times throughout the day to improve flexibility and reduce tension in thewrist.
  • Wrist Extensor Stretch: Extend one arm in front of you with the palm facing down.Use your other hand to gently press down on the back of the hand, stretching thewrist and forearm muscles. Hold the stretch for 15-30 seconds, then switch sides.Incorporate this stretch into your daily routine to relieve tightness and promotemobility in the wrist.
  • Wrist Flexion and Extension Exercises: Perform wrist flexion and extensionexercises to strengthen the muscles surrounding the carpal tunnel. Sit or stand withyour arms extended in front of you, palms facing down. Slowly bend your wristsupward (flexion) and then downward (extension), moving through a comfortablerange of motion. Repeat for 10-15 repetitions, gradually increasing as tolerated.
  • Wrist Circles: Gently rotate your wrists in circular motions, first clockwise and thencounterclockwise. Perform 10-15 repetitions in each direction, focusing on smoothand controlled movements. Wrist circles can help improve joint mobility and reducestiffness in the wrists.
  • Hand and Finger Exercises: Incorporate hand and finger exercises to promoteoverall wrist health such as squeezing a stress ball, performing finger stretches, orpracticing picking up small objects with your fingers to improve dexterity andcoordination.

Prevention Strategies

In addition to the above exercises, make the following lifestyle changes to ensure CTSsymptoms do not recur.

  • Adjust the height of your chair, desk, and computer peripherals (keyboard andmouse) to maintain neutral wrist positions.
  • Invest in ergonomic keyboards, mice, and other tools designed to promote naturalwrist positions and reduce the risk of CTS. Consider using wrist rests and paddedmouse pads to support your wrists during typing and mouse use.
  • Use light keystrokes, keep your wrists in a neutral position, and avoid excessive forceor awkward wrist angles.
  • Take frequent breaks when performing repetitive tasks involving the wrist and hand.

CTS is a treatable condition that generally responds to simple exercises if done regularly. Ifyou find the symptoms are too severe, then you may have to consider other options such aswrist splints, corticosteroid injections, ultrasound therapy, or even minimally invasivesurgery.

Dr. Daneca DiPaolo is a highly-skilled, board-certified orthopedic surgeon located in Grenada,Mississippi. She offers the latest orthopedic techniques and provides quality, compassionate,state-of-the-art orthopedic care.


  1. www.verywellhealth.com/facts-about-carpal-tunnel-syndrome-5524726
  2. www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/hand-exercises-for-carpal-tunnel#exercises

  • American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons - AAOS
  • Mississippi State Medical Association
  • Ruth Jackson Orthopaedic Society
  • American Society for Surgery of the Hand