If you ever experience pain in your wrists when you’re doing certain poses like downward dog, you’re not alone. Yoga wrist pain is actually pretty common.
“Yogis often get wrist pain due to repetitive stress and excessive loading beyond what the wrist joint was prepared for,” Dr. Mary Kate Casey, owner and founder of Prep Performance Center in Chicago, says. “If [you’re] new to yoga or doing more challenging poses that require more weight-bearing than you’re used to, the excess stress or load can cause irritation at the wrist joint, surrounding ligaments, tendons, and muscles.”
Yoga wrist pain can occur over a period of time and can manifest in different ways. Most commonly, people will get dull and aching pain, which is usually caused by bone, ligament, or cartilage damage. Others will experience shooting pain, which could indicate acute tendinitis or a muscle sprain. Additionally, painful clicking in the joint can indicate a tear in your triangular fibrocartilage complex, which is a piece of cartilage in the lateral aspect of the wrist.
If yoga wrist pain or discomfort is getting in the way of your practice, here are some things you can do.
Modify your yoga poses
According to Dr. Casey, you want to modify your poses to maintain a neutral wrist position until the pain is tolerable. You can accomplish this by using blocks, changing the angle of your wrists, not putting any weight on the wrist, and making sure that the rest of your body is doing its job in each pose you do.
Ask your instructor for feedback
“Adding new poses to your yoga practice should be slow and steady,” Dr. Casey says. “A sudden increase in frequency, duration, and intensity can all lead to yoga wrist pain.” Your instructor can check to see if you have the correct posture down for each new pose. That way, you can prevent your wrist from getting any worse. It’s also a good idea to ask for feedback even when you’re not in pain to decrease your chances of getting an injury.
Use a brace
If you’re experiencing wrist discomfort off the mat, you can use a splint or brace. This will apply compression and reposition the wrist in a neutral position to reduce stress. “It’s easy to use, comfortable, and will help alleviate wrist pain during daily activities,” Dr. Casey says.
Check in with a physical therapist
Truth be told, there’s only so much you can do on your own. If you have any stiffness or swelling, it may be time to check in with a doctor of physical therapy. They can give you stretching and strengthening activities, as well as proper weight-bearing mechanics to help you recover and avoid further injuries.
“Yoga wrist pain is manageable with proper modification and progressions,” Dr. Casey says. “You just want to address it early, remember to be mindful in your practice, and listen to your body.”
xx, The FabFitFun Team
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