The muscles that
control the wrist and cause it to bend and twist are located in the forearm and
can be divided into two groups: 1.) The Posterior Forearm
(backside/dorsum) and 2.) Anterior Forearm (underside/belly).
We'll address the belly, the Anterior Forearm, in this issue
(part 1) and the Posterior Forearm next issue (part 2).
The muscles in the Anterior Forearm we will cover are the Wrist & Finger Flexors and the Pronator Teres, as shown. Both are important in healthy hand & wrist function. The Pronator Teres has also been covered previously in the issue on Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, because of its ability to compress the Median Nerve. The Wrist & Finger Flexors can compress another nerve, the Ulnar Nerve, which also causes numbness and tingling in the hand and fingers.
If you are experiencing wrist symptoms already, don't wait until permanent joint changes have already taken place. And even if you have no symptoms, it is still important to do these simple preventative exercises that take mere minutes.
TEST 1: Finger Press Test
Some muscles of the Anterior Forearm stretch when the wrist and fingers are extended backward. They are called the Wrist & Finger Flexors. When they are functioning well, they should be able to stretch enough for the hands and fingers to press flat against each other with forearms in line, as shown, without any pain. If your finger and palms cannot press flat against each other as shown in the picture, or there is pain on doing so, it indicates trigger points and myofascial dysfunction in your Wrist & Finger Flexors.
TEST 2: Wrist Supination Test
Another muscle of the Anterior Forearm stretches when the wrist is twisted outward, called Supination. This muscle is named the Pronator Teres, because it twists the wrist inward (Pronation). If the Pronator Teres is shortened and tight due to trigger points, your wrist will not supinate (turn outward) fully. Hold a ruler or pen in your hand with your elbow at your side. Keeping your forearm parallel to the floor, twist your hand and wrist outward (supinate) as far as you can. A Passing result is if you can reach the point where the ruler is parallel to the floor or beyond. A Not Passing result is if you reach less than parallel, indicating trigger points and myofascial dysfunction in the Pronator Teres.
Use your fingers or tennis ball or another self-care tool to press into
areas of yourAnterior Forearm. The X's mark common areas where trigger points are found in the Wrist & Finger Flexors and the Pronator Teres. Check for
tenderness and taut bands, as well as any referred pain. Cover the full
area, making note of where you find spots that need treatment.
TEST 3: Palpation of the Anterior Forearm
Here are simple self-care tips for relieving myofascial pain and dysfunction in your Anterior Forearm:
Step 1: Warming Up with Moist Heat
To relax and warm up the muscle fibers, soak your forearm in a warm bath or wrap it in moist heat such as aFomentek bag for 10-15 minutes.
Step 2: Compression
You can stretch your Anterior Forearm very easily by using your opposite hand to apply comfortable pressure while pulling your hand and fingers backward. Hold for 20 seconds and repeat three times per day on each side. Afterward, you can roll the wrist around in gentle circles, ten times in each direction.
And it's as simple as that! You have covered in just a few minutes half of the Miracle Hand & Wrist Cure. Next issue, we will cover the second half, the Posterior Forearm, and you will be empowered to keep your ever so important hands & wrists as healthy and pain free as possible!