What Is General Wrist Weakness?

23 August 2017

Every day, our wrists are at the forefront of a multitude of tasks: from brushing our teeth in the morning to switching off the light at the end of the day, our wrists are constantly required to perform. However, over time, wrists can weaken, and this general wrist weakness can be painful and even end up hindering one's quality of life.

There are certain measures that can be taken to both prevent general wrist weakness and to ease the symptoms if and when it does develop. Read on to find out who is most at risk, what preventative steps can be taken, and how to treat the condition should it arise.

What Causes General Wrist Weakness?

General wrist weakness tends to develop over time as a result of overuse. As such, it is often an unavoidable symptom of ageing, as the wrists inevitably succumb to the perils of time.

However, there are also certain repetitive actions and specific people who may find that general wrist weakness may develop prematurely as a result of an excessive pressure on their wrists. See the section below for further information about who is most likely to develop general wrist weakness.

Who Is at Risk of General Wrist Weakness?

While general wrist weakness can affect anybody and at any time, there are certain activities and demands on the wrist that make specific people more at risk of developing general wrist weakness. Individuals at a greater risk include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Athletes: As many sports, particularly ball sports and racket sports, require constant use of the hands and wrists, sportspersons are likely to develop wrist weakness. This weakness can progress to repetitive strain injury or similar, where repetitive movements of the wrist can intensify existing weakness.
  • Elderly: As ageing occurs, the body as a whole may begin to weaken due to inevitable wear and tear. The wrists can begin to weaken as a result of ageing from anywhere as young as 50, and this may progress rapidly or over time into such conditions as arthritis
  • Gamers: Due to the fixed positioning of the wrists for extended periods of time when holding onto a games controller, general wrist weakness may develop. This is because the wrists become used to sitting in one position, and can then struggle to perform when required in another.
  • Office workers: constant use of a keyboard and mouse while working at a computer can encourage the wrist to develop bad postural habits, which in turn can cause weakness to the joints. This may lead to such conditions as carpal tunnel syndrome.
  • Previously injured: For anybody who has suffered from a previous wrist injury or condition, they may find that there is a persistent general weakness of the wrist, even long after the injury has healed.

Symptoms of General Wrist Weakness

As there is an almost limitless number of ailments that can affect the wrists, it may be hard to identify whether or not there is a specific condition causing weakness in your wrists. If you feel like you have any of the symptoms below, a professional medical diagnosis should always be sought. However, they may help you to better understand your wrist weakness in the meantime. Symptoms of general wrist weakness may include:

  • Difficulty grasping: If wrist strength has deteriorated, you may find it increasingly difficult to grasp, such as when opening a jar lid or turning a door handle.
  • Pain when pinching: The wrist is put to work when the thumb and forefinger pinch together. A weakened wrist may struggle to perform this action, and you may also notice some pain whenever you try to pinch.
  • Pain: As general wrist weakness is likely to affect the wrist as a whole, you may feel a dull ache throughout the wrist. However, if the weakness is caused by degeneration of a specific part of the wrist, there may be a constant or intermittent pain in one part of the wrist.
  • Numbness/tingling: Often as a sign of an underlying or developing condition, a numbness or tingling sensation can be present in and around the wrist.

Treating General Wrist Weakness

General wrist weakness, unless a symptom in itself of an underlying or developing wrist condition, does not usually have any specific characteristic that can be treated with surgery or medication. However, there is a number of options suitable for encouraging healing of and relieving pain caused by general wrist weakness. They are as follows:

Avoiding Contributing Activities

General wrist weakness can often be a degenerative condition, meaning that it can be maintained but not cured. However, in some instances it can develop prematurely as a result of overuse of the wrist. In such cases, it may be possible to heal the weakened wrist by taking a break, or stopping altogether, the activities that contribute to the weakness of the wrist.

With this in mind, it may be necessary to take respite from playing sports that impact on the wrist, or ensure that you take frequent rest breaks when working at a computer. It may not always be possible to avoid the acts that contribute to wrist weakness, but by limiting the amount of pressure placed on the wrists it will make the symptoms easier to manage.

Hot and Cold Therapies

While it is important to try to increase wrist strength, it is understandable that you will also want to reduce any associated pain as quickly as possible. Hot and cold therapies can help with this, and can be received either at a professional physiotherapy or rehabilitation clinic, or as part of self-administered treatment at home. 

Using an ice pack can help to reduce pain and swelling, and will effectively cool down any inflammation or hot and reddened skin. A heat pack, on the other hand, will warm up the affected area, encouraging blood flow to quicken up the rate of healing.

Hand Exercisers

Just like any other part of the body, exercising the wrist can help to improve strength and maintain good health. Adding a hand exerciser to your fitness regime will give the wrist the workout it both deserves and needs.

Some hand exercisers enable you to exercise the whole wrist at once, while others work each finger individually, which works the different joints of the wrist in turn. There are even hand exercisers that massage the palm to relax the surrounding muscles, providing a soothing workout that still strengthens and improves dexterity!

Wrist Supports and Braces

If you choose to wear a wrist support or brace, you will be able to combine pain relief and healing with optimal protection for your wrist to prevent it from coming to further harm. There are many wrist supports available, with some offering compression to promote healing, while others can restrict or even immobilise wrist movement to prevent it from bending awkwardly or uncomfortably.

To view our full range of wrist supports that can help you to relieve pain, protect your wrist, and prevent further damage, follow the button below.


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