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Most Common Wrist Injury from lifting Weights

Most Common Wrist Injury from lifting Weights
Dr. Garrett Stroup. Physical Therapist in Roseburg Area.


Dr. Garrett C. Stroup

DPT, VRC - Owner and Founder

We help athletes and active adults regain control of their injury without expensive surgeries or medications, so they can keep going.


Weightlifting is a popular and effective form of exercise, but it’s not without its risks. Among the potential injuries, a wrist injury from lifting is relatively common and can significantly impact your training routine. In this blog post, we’ll delve into the various aspects of wrist overuse injury from lifting, including common types, causes, prevention strategies, and rehabilitation, with a focus on the role of sports physical therapy in effective recovery.

Brief overview of wrist injuries from weightlifting

The wrists play a crucial role in weightlifting, providing stability and support during various exercises. However, the repetitive stress and strain from lifting weights can lead to overuse injuries in the wrist joint. Hand and wrist injuries frequently occur among athletes, with an incidence rate of 25% across various sports. Understanding these injuries is essential for both prevention and effective management.

Common Wrist Injuries in Weight Lifting

Common Wrist Injuries in Weight Lifting

Weightlifting, while beneficial for strength and fitness, can pose risks to the delicate structures of the wrist. In 2017, about 179 hand and wrist fractures per 100,000 people happened globally, showing a 2.6% decrease from 1990.

Let’s explore some specific injuries and their implications in more detail.

Weightlifting, if not performed with proper technique and form, can potentially lead to various wrist injuries. Some common wrist injuries associated with weightlifting include:

  1. Strains and Sprains: These are among the most common injuries and can occur when the wrist is subjected to excessive force or awkward positioning during lifting.

  2. Tendonitis: Inflammation of the tendons in the wrist, often caused by repetitive stress or overuse. Weightlifting activities that involve gripping and lifting heavy weights may contribute to tendonitis. This issue alters biomechanics, potentially leading to a type of injury related to wrist overuse.

  3. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome: This condition involves compression of the median nerve in the wrist, leading to pain, numbness, and tingling. Certain weightlifting exercises, especially those involving wrist flexion or extension under load, can contribute to carpal tunnel syndrome.

  4. Wrist Fractures: Direct trauma or excessive force can result in wrist fractures. Improperly performed lifts or dropping weights can increase the risk of fractures.

  5. TFCC (Triangular Fibrocartilage Complex) Injuries: The TFCC is a cartilage structure in the wrist that can be injured during weightlifting, especially when there is excessive rotation or shearing force on the wrist.

  6. De Quervain’s Tenosynovitis: This condition involves inflammation of the tendons on the thumb side of the wrist. It can be aggravated by repetitive gripping and lifting motions.

Causes of Wrist Injuries in Weightlifting

A study discovered a 20.4% injury rate to the hand or wrist among CrossFit athletes. Understanding the causes of wrist injuries is essential for prevention. Here are key factors that can contribute to the development of wrist overuse injuries in weightlifting:

Poor Form: Incorrect lifting techniques, especially when handling heavy weights, can strain the wrists and lead to traumatic injuries, affecting the delicate structures of the wrist bones.

Improper Equipment Use: Using equipment that doesn’t provide adequate support or is not adjusted correctly for individual needs can increase the risk of wrist injuries, including the possibility of torn ligaments.

Overtraining: Pushing the limits without allowing sufficient time for recovery can result in overuse injuries, impacting the wrists and hindering wrist motion.

Inadequate Warm-up: Failing to warm up adequately before engaging in weightlifting activities can leave the wrists susceptible to injuries.

Biomechanical Issues: Individual variations in body mechanics can contribute to increased stress on the wrists during weightlifting, especially if not addressed. This can impact delicate structures, including the carpal bones.

Prevention of Wrist Injuries in Weightlifting

Prevention of Wrist Injuries in Weightlifting

For individuals already grappling with wrist injuries from weightlifting, a comprehensive approach to rehabilitation and treatment is paramount, especially when addressing acute injuries.

Here’s a more detailed breakdown:


Allowing the injured wrist sufficient time to rest is fundamental, involving minimizing or avoiding activities that strain the wrist to facilitate the healing process. This includes modifications to daily activities to promote optimal recovery.

Targeted Exercises

Engaging in specific exercises designed to strengthen and improve flexibility in the wrists can aid in rehabilitation, often prescribed as a key treatment option by physical therapists or healthcare professionals.

Medical Intervention

In some cases, medical intervention may be necessary. This can range from non-invasive treatments such as bracing or splinting to more advanced interventions like injections or, in rare cases, surgical procedures. The appropriate course of action depends on the nature and severity of the wrist injury, and seeking guidance from a healthcare provider is essential for personalized advice.

Professional Guidance

Consulting with a medical professional, such as a physical therapist or orthopedic specialist, is crucial, especially when dealing with a wrist injury weightlifting. They can provide personalized advice, create a tailored rehabilitation plan, and monitor progress to ensure optimal recovery.

Rehabilitation and Treatment

For those grappling with wrist injuries, effective rehabilitation and wrist injury treatment are crucial. This involves rest, targeted exercises, and, when necessary, medical intervention. Seeking personalized advice from a healthcare professional, such as a specialist in physical therapy in Roseburg, Oregon, ensures a tailored approach to recovery. The advantages of physical therapy for athletes extend beyond injury management, encompassing overall strength, flexibility, and the promotion of optimal performance.


While wrist injuries from weightlifting can be challenging, identifying the causes and taking preventive measures can significantly reduce the risk. Listening to your body, maintaining proper form, and incorporating wrist-specific exercises into your routine are critical steps in promoting long-term wrist health.


Q1: How do I know if my wrist injury is serious?

A1: Persistent pain, swelling, and limited range of motion are common symptoms of a potentially severe wrist injury, including the possibility of a broken wrist. These indicators often involve damage to the soft tissues. If these symptoms persist, consult a healthcare professional for a thorough assessment.

Q2: Should I still lift if my wrist hurts?

A2: Persistent pain, swelling, and limited range of motion are common symptoms of a potentially serious wrist injury, including the possibility of a broken wrist or sprained wrist. These indicators often involve damage to the soft tissues. If these symptoms persist, a thorough assessment by a healthcare professional, including a physical examination, is recommended for proper diagnosis and treatment.

Q3: What is the fastest way to recover from wrist pain?


  • Severity Determines Speed: The speed of recovery hinges on the severity of the wrist injury.
  • Rest is Key: Adequate rest is fundamental for a swift recovery. Minimizing or avoiding activities that strain the wrist unfolds the healing process.
  • Rehabilitation Exercises: Engaging in specific exercises designed to strengthen and improve flexibility in the wrists can expedite recovery. Healthcare professionals or physical therapists often recommend these exercises.
  • Follow Medical Advice: Adhering to the guidance of healthcare professionals is crucial. Whether it involves rest, exercises, or other interventions, following medical advice enhances the effectiveness of the recovery process.
  • Avoid Rushing: Rushing the recovery process can lead to long-term complications. Patience is essential to ensure that the wrist heals adequately and reduces the risk of future issues.

Individuals can optimize the recovery process and regain optimal wrist function by combining rest, targeted exercises, and medical guidance while avoiding impatience.

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