Swollen Wrists after Yoga: What Should I do?

Concerned about your wrists swelling during practice? Yoga expert Rachel Stanley can help.

Wrist pain
Do your wrists hurt after yoga?

Sometimes after yoga my wrist swells up a little and then gets better. Is this normal? John, Perth, WA

Swelling around a joint following activity usually indicates that the joint is inflamed. Continuous inflammation of a joint can lead to degenerative changes, so I’d strongly recommend you modify your asana practice, or rest from all weight-bearing postures through the hands for four to six weeks. If your symptoms continue to persist, then see your physiotherapist or doctor.

Inflammation of the wrist joints during yoga is often caused by incorrect alignment in weight-bearing poses such as Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward-Facing Dog Pose), Urdhva Mukha Svanasana (Upward-Facing Dog Pose) or Adho Mukha Vrksasana (Handstand). In these poses, make sure your index fingers of both hands face directly forwards, your elbow joints remain slightly bent and your hands are placed shoulder-width apart. This alignment ensures that the wrist, elbow and shoulder joints are all loaded safely, and that the muscles of the hand, arm, shoulders and core of the body do most of the work.

Rachel Stanley is a physiotherapist with 15 years’ experience in yoga exercise therapy.