Can you bench press without a problem, but when it comes to pushups, you always get pain in only one wrist? And it’s enough pain to screw up the set.
“Pain in one wrist during pushups, or other weight bearing exercises, can be caused by a number of issues, but it almost always is due to a problem with a tendon or ligament,” says Mark Anderson, MD, DABFM, board certified in internal medicine and a partner at Executive Medicine of Texas and who’s also with the Staying Young Radio Show 2.0 podcast.
“When pain is experienced in one wrist, it may be due to tendonitis, like what is seen in carpal tunnel syndrome, or other inflammatory conditions.”
If you have carpal tunnel syndrome, however, there’s a pretty good chance that you experience symptoms at times other than during exercise.
For example, your fingers may tingle or be numb; and flexing the wrist (bending the hand towards the underside of your forearm) triggers pain. There may also be spontaneous pain in the forearm.
More Likely Cause of Pain in One Wrist
While Doing Pushups
“In some cases, patients may have a ganglion cyst around the wrist, hand or forearm area,” says Dr. Anderson.
“This is a non-cancerous fluid filled sac that is usually not painful on its own, but when they press on a nerve, it can cause sharp, radiating pains.”
One of the distinguishing characteristics of a ganglion cyst is that the pain immediately stops when the offending activity ceases.
A ganglion cyst can sometimes be seen as a lump somewhere on the wrist (though they can appear elsewhere on the hand). It feels rather rubbery and gives when you press into it.
The only way to get rid of it is needle aspiration by a doctor or, if that fails, surgery.
If you have one of these and it’s causing pain in one wrist during pushups, it’s probably not going to get much worse, but don’t be surprised if every so often, it can be felt while bench pressing or doing horizontal chest presses on a machine.
Solution to Pain in One Wrist
from Doing Pushups
Here is a solution if the cause is a ganglion cyst. I’ve had one of these for many years, and I’ve always been a fan of pushups.
The slam-dunk solution is to use pushup handles or hold dumbbells. This 100 percent solves the problem. Furthermore, using handles or dumbbells allows you to go deeper into the movement, recruiting more chest muscle.