Yoga is a popular healthy leisure activity enjoyed by many of our patients. However, returning to yoga following a wrist injury can be painful and uncomfortable as the activity requires excellent control, stability, weight bearing and strength of the wrist and forearm. So to help get you back on the mat after a wrist injury, consider these strategies!
Understanding The Wrist and Your Injury
Firstly it’s important to have an understanding of the wrist and your injury. The wrist is made up of 8 small carpal bones articulating with the distal radius and ulnar bones, along with numerous ligaments and a cartilage wedge known as the TFCC (triangular fibrocartilage complex).
Wrists are typically very flexible joints, particularly in women who already tend to have more ligament laxity or looseness compared to men. Your hand therapist can discuss your wrist injury and identify the particular structure which is damaged or requiring support. Along with this, there may be specific movements or tasks which you should avoid.
Why Am I Having Trouble With Yoga Now?
There may be various reasons why returning to yoga is difficult, including pain and difficulty with poses due to reduced movement, strength or reduced ability to weight-bear through the wrist.
Poses such as downward dog require a combination of excellent wrist flexibility in the plane of extension as well as ability to weight-bear.
What Can I Do To Help?
• Strengthening – The delicate wrist complex relies on the forearm muscles for support. In some cases a strengthening program is required to provide stability and control.
• Range of movement – After wrist fracture, ligament injury or cartilage tear, you may have reduced range of movement and flexibility of the wrist. Your therapist can provide an exercise program to target the movement which requires improvement.
• Supports – Your therapist can show you a range of pre-fabricated or custom made wrist supports such as the “wrist widget” which may assist your return to yoga.
• Modify poses – Strategies to modify your pose may include weight bearing through your fists instead of flat palms, or weight bearing through your elbows. Ask your instructor how to use a foam wedge to reduce the pressure and stress through your wrists.
• Pain relieving strategies – Using ice, heat or performing specific stretches before and after yoga may reduce pain and can be recommended by your therapist.
For further advice, specific to your injury please see us at our rooms at Macquarie, Hills Norwest of Pacific Hand Therapy or get in touch with us here. We would be happy to help.