Lifting Around A Wrist Injury

by Kilo on April 12, 2011


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First of all, let me say that my first priority is always resolving the pain that I’m dealing with. I don’t believe in training through injuries. I’ve seen guys keep squatting while their painful knees got worse…and worse…and then still worse…and then this caught up with them and training through it resulted in being through training.

I’ve seen people get hernias, insisting that the pain in their groin is nothing.

One night before a kettlebell class I asked any of the students if they had any injuries or pains I should know about.

“I have an elbow issue so I’m not supposed to do any snatching, but I’m trying to work through it,” said a young woman in her second week of training with my class.

“Okay, I’d rather not have you do any snatches if it hurts.”

“Oh, I’ll be fine,” she said. Her elbow was dislocated about two minutes later. Not only did she decided to snatch, she decided to test out the next size up!

Now granted, this is a Crossfit Gym I teach at, and seeking the pain is part of the experience, the camaraderie generated by suffering. To each his or her own, but training in pain does not make sense to me.

However, back to the wrist injury or wrist pain question. What do you do when you want to train and your pain is associated to the fact that you spend all day typing on a computer? It’s just the nature of my job. Maybe it’s yours as well.

In the last two weeks my wrist has hurt. The pisiform bone feels wiggly as can be. I didn’t “injure” it, but something has definitely caught up with me.

So what can we do?

I’m no doctor, but this is where I start with any injury or pain.

1. Ask: is it possible to do fewer of the things that I associate with the pain?

2. Cut those things back and see if it helps.

3. Choose exercises that don’t involve the wrist and see if it goes away as you squat or use the other arm or whatever. Move wherever I can move that resembles the original pattern that is causing pain. I first heard that concept from Frankie Faires.

4. RICE: Rest, ice, compression, elevation (I’d add NSAIDS in there)

5. If the pain is related to movements (meaning it isn’t constant, but hurts when you move it a specific way), try moving it in the opposite direction, at different speeds, etc. Just get it moving and see if that brings any relief.

So far as my wrists have been concerned, I’ve never had to go beyond these measures. I’m not bending or doing heavy plate curls. I’m not doing sledge levers. I’ve been doing a lot of bridging, squatting, and running.

The tricky part right now is that the majority of my day involves tasks I associate with aggravated wrist pain, not diminished pain.

Any other tips for any of you who have been there and escaped?


{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Patrick Tracy April 12, 2011 at 5:06 pm


You covered most of the things I would say to someone. If it’s a typing issue, or any other repetitive stress problem, there are sometimes ways of altering the stimulus to improve things. Typing, for instance often hurts the wrist when we type in weird postures or with bad form. Oddly, I find that my wrist soreness often responds well to pulls, as they re-seat all the wee bones in there. I don’t ever remember feeling wrist pain after deadlifts or heavy rows. That may be unhelpful to others, however.

When I was first starting my grip training and bending, I had a lot of wrist and hand pain (because I’m a dillweed and overdo everything!) and I found that hot and cold treatments helped a bunch.

My biggest adaptation in recent times was to take the pressure off my bad elbow (old injury). At work, I switched to lefty with my mouse to keep the elbow from constantly being aggravated. Worked wonders.


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