Perform these 5 gentle and safe finger exercises while you are in a wrist cast to avoid stiffness, pain, and swelling in your fingers.

You’re likely searching for finger exercises in a wrist cast because you fractured or sprained your wrist. Or maybe you had wrist or hand surgery.

Wrist injuries happen more often than you know. With your cast on, you are probably getting lots of attention and more than likely unwanted advice. You can get easily frustrated when someone else’s broken wrist experience is more ideal than your.

And you are probably getting all kinds of advice on the type of oil or lotion you should rub on your hand to speed up the healing.

Even so, you are more than likely here because it’s not your wrist bothering you.

You are experiencing more stiffness and pain in your fingers.

Or feel the stiffness creeping in and know you better get your fingers moving before they freeze up.

Every year 1 million people worldwide break their wrist.

One of the most common wrist injuries is a distal radius fracture; which is a break of the large bone in your wrist near your thumb. With a distal radius fracture, the wrist is immobilized (basically not allowed to move) to allow healing to occur.

Often, the cast or splint is removable, especially if you had surgery to allow early wrist exercises. Disclosure: ONLY your Physician or Hand Therapist will tell you when you can begin wrist exercises.

According to the American Society for Surgery of the Hand (ASSH), “During recovery, it is very important to keep your fingers moving to keep them from getting stiff. Your hand surgeon will have you start moving your wrist at the right time for your fracture.”

If your wrist is healed and you are ready to start moving, check out our video on how to improve wrist flexibility here.

In this post, I will only be addressing 5 gentle and safe finger exercises with a wrist cast on.  These exercises allow the tendons and muscles in your fingers to move without allowing wrist motion.

Of course, if you are in a cast that includes your fingers you should NOT perform these exercises. If your fingers and thumb are out of the cast that usually means you are free to move them!

Ideally your cast should allow full finger motion as shown here.

Kickstart your finger motion and grip strength with my GET A GRIP Program

It is very common for fingers to get stiff when you have a cast or splint on. Swelling, pain, and restrictions from the cast or splint can quickly cause the small joints and ligaments in your fingers to lose flexibility.

Most people are told to just wiggle their fingers in their cast. That is often NOT enough. In fact, find out what’s wrong with only wiggling your fingers in my blog post here.

This loss of flexibility can result in pain, more swelling, and potential deformities of your fingers. That is why it is so important to immediately begin gentle and safe finger exercises in a wrist cast.

Just wiggling your fingers is not enough.

If you want to follow along with the exercises, watch the best finger exercises in a wrist cast from my YouTube channel here:

Do these 5 gentle and safe finger exercises 10 times to each finger, 3-4 times a day.

  1. Start by using your uninjured hand to block the tip of your index finger. Then using your own muscles actively bend the tip of your injured index finger.
  2. This is a small motion and should not cause pain. Only bend hard enough to allow only the tip of the finger move. If your other fingers move, that’s fine.


  1. Use your uninjured hand to block the middle joint of your injured index finger. Then using your own muscles to actively bend the middle joint of your index finger.
  2. This joint moves more than the tip and may be painful if it is stiff. Only bend hard enough to allow only the middle joint to move. The other fingers may move too


  1. Now perform these first 2 exercises on ALL the finger joints; 10 times each joint.
  1. Straighten the large knuckles as much as you can, then bend them down. Try to only bend the large knuckles while keeping the tip and middle joints straight as shown.


  1. Now that you have loosened the smaller joints in your fingers you can begin making fists. This next exercise is called a straight fist.
  2. This is when you bend your knuckles and middle joint down while keeping the top joint straight. Ideally, you want your fingers to touch the palm of your cast as shown.


  1. Finally, it is time to make a full fist. This may be hard to do if your cast is thick. This exercise is important because you bend at all 3 joints in the fingers.  If your cast blocks you from making a full fist do your best to make sure all 3 joints are bending.


  1. That’s it! Do these exercises as often as you need to throughout your recovery.  Don’t let your fingers get stiff because it will be so hard to get them loosened up. Unfortunately, if you don’t, a painful surgery to ‘release’ them may be needed. So, don’t let that happen to you!

What can you do if these exercises aren’t enough?

We understand how important your fingers are for daily activities. If you are experiencing persistent stiffness, loss of motion, and strength of your fingers from a wrist injury or fracture, then my step by step Grip program is for you.

Kickstart your finger motion and grip strength with my GET A GRIP Program

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