Ask an Exercise Physiologist: managing wrist pain during yoga and osteoarthritis | HerCanberra

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Ask an Exercise Physiologist: managing wrist pain during yoga and osteoarthritis

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Interesting questions this week about long term movement solutions for knee Osteoarthritis, and managing wrist pain with yoga and cycling.

Thank you to the HerCanberra community for being so engaging and asking the tough questions. I’ll get to the other questions on osteoporosis, “perimenopause bulge”, a safe beginner running program and the benefits of exercise with depression over the next month.

New here? Ask an EP is here to help with all your health and wellness questions and challenges—lifestyle, wellness, pain and health.

Do you have a burning health and wellness question? Now is your chance to ask.

Every fortnight we will pick a couple of questions, and help you solve your burning query. If we share our problems, we are more likely to solve them.

I have my wonderful work colleague, Kayla answering a question this week. Let’s get started:

“My left wrist gets sore whenever I ride my bike or do yoga. I try to spread out my workouts and ice it after I exercise.

I work 38 hours in front of a computer. Is there anything else I could do to help my pain?”

– Katie, 28

Hi Katie,

Thank you for getting in touch with us! I am sorry to hear your wrist has been troubling you and limiting your exercise tolerance.

It is great to hear that you enjoy cycling and yoga, both of which are great for your physical and mental health. The following recommendations may assist in your symptoms, assuming there is no diagnosed condition in your wrist that would make it unsuitable.

Some of our movement tips:

  • During yoga, let your teacher know prior to the class of your wrist pain and ask if there are any modifications they offer for their class. If you haven’t already, I would recommend trialling a fist position during four-point kneeling or rolling the mat under the palm of your hand to decrease the angle at the wrist during positions like downward dog.
  • Have you had a targeted strengthening program for the upper limb musculature? Strengthening the arms and shoulders (particularly the forearms) may assist in offloading the pressure at the wrists during workouts. You could get a program like this from any qualified exercise professional including an exercise physiologist or physiotherapist.
  • Another thing to address would be your work set up including keyboard, mouse, phone position and duration of use etc. Have you had an ergonomic assessment done at your workstation? Your wrist pain could be linked to your set up at work and/or the type of work you do. Discuss this with your employer if it is an area of concern for you.
  • Whilst you address the above, another modality you could try is utilising a wrist support strapping or brace. This may provide some support initially until your strength and other modifications help improve your symptoms.

I hope these suggestions help you to find a more tolerable way of exercising and assisting in returning to doing the things you enjoy with less pain!

Take care,


“I’ve recently been diagnosed with knee Osteoarthritis. I’m only in my early 40s, so it was a surprise for me. Any suggestions to help my pain?

My doctor has recommended Panadol Osteo, however, it’s only helping 20%. Should I stop all my regular running and dragon boating?”

– Elle, 4

Dear Elle,

Osteoarthritis (OA), is a chronic condition, so you need to think long term solutions to manage your lifestyle goals. Exercise can strengthen the muscles around the knee, which helps take stress off your knee joint. Experts agree that exercise can help relieve joint pain and reduce joint stiffness from osteoarthritis (OA).

All you need to do is choose the TYPE of exercise that is appropriate for you!

  • Dragon Boating is a great form of exercise to de-load your lower limbs, and strengthen your core. Running is also a fabulous form of exercise; however, you need to be careful with the amount of load on your joint – factors to consider:
  • Surface: You need a soft surface to protect your joint).
  • Footwear: See your local podiatrist or have the Athletes Foot assess your gait which will help find the best shoes for your type of foot.
  • Have you had a running assessment? Managing your form helps your biomechanics, which will help your knee pain.
  • Monitoring your kilometres and having rest days is important
  • Consider Deep Water Running which helps to strengthen the muscles around your joint, and de-load your knee joint.

If you’re living with osteoarthritis, an Accredited Exercise Physiologist is the perfect allied health practitioner to help you get moving and motivated. EP’s understand the challenges, barriers and will work with you and your GP to prescribe safe and effective exercise interventions, and a specific program to help you with your goals.

Great questions everyone. I’ll answer more next week. Submit your question now to have it answered!

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