Can weightlifting cause wrist pain?

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When an individual lifts heavy weights, wrist pain can lead to the weakening of the grip and disrupt the focus on the exercise. Once an individual develops wrist pain while weightlifting, it might be an indication of strained tendons or ligaments or even a fracture.

It is vital to consult a doctor for thorough assessment of the condition so that a diagnosis can be given in order to prevent further damage as well as start the suitable treatment. For cases that involves mild wrist pain without evident swelling or there is intense pain, it is recommended to rest or modify the workout to minimize the stress placed on the wrists if possible.

Close look on wrist pain

In case wrist pain only occurs while lifting weights or strained during certain activities, it might be a strained ligament or tendon or other tissue in the wrist. Once there is continuous wrist pain that is accompanied by swelling and tenderness, it simply indicates a fracture.

Wrist pain
In case wrist pain only occurs while lifting weights or strained during certain activities, it might be a strained ligament or tendon or other tissue in the wrist.

The wrist is comprised of 8 bones and a fracture can occur during a fall on an extended hand which strikes a hard surface. Nevertheless, stress fractures which are quite common in the feet and legs can also develop in the wrists due to overuse and strain on the joints.

What is carpal tunnel syndrome?

Carpal tunnel syndrome is a condition that might be responsible for chronic wrist pain which is due to extensive use of the hands. Weightlifting is known to worsen this condition which triggers wrist pain and oftentimes a tingling sensation.

Carpal tunnel syndrome develops once the connective tissues surrounding the flexor tendon in the wrist becomes inflamed. The swelling places pressure on the median nerve which instigates pain, stinging or numbness particularly on the thumb side of the hand and wrist.

A splint or brace can be used to keep the affected wrist in a neutral position, but can put limits while lifting weights. A shot of cortisone can help provide relief to the symptoms. In cases of severe pain, surgery might be required to open the tunnel where the tissue and tendons are positioned to minimize the pressure on the nerves.


Another condition affecting the tissue that triggers wrist pain is syndesmosis. This refers to the interosseous tissue that is responsible in keeping the two large-sized bones in the forearm in a stabilized position when the wrist and arm are used.

Due to the strain while weightlifting in which the wrist is bent beyond the normal range of motion, it can damage the tissue over time and trigger wrist pain.

Diagnosis and treatment

If the individual experiences wrist pain after lifting weights and was given time to rest for a few days or weeks along with application of ice before tested again, the problem can be identified.

In case the pain completely subsides or evidently milder when weightlifting is resumed, it is likely to be a strained ligament or tendon. If the pain recurs or if rest and ice application did not provide any relief, it might be a tissue-related condition that requires medical care.

The doctor will conduct a physical examination along with an X-ray or MRI. The doctor will also ask potential triggers for the pain, measures that provides relief to the wrist pain and the duration of the pain.

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