Different Types of Wrist Movements – Explained in Detail

Reviewed by Betsy Sanchez
Betsy Sanchez

Betsy Sanchez is a professional graphic designer with over 10 years of experience. She loves all things tech and that's why she started writing on different topics online now here, working with us to help the audience who are looking for perfect comfort.

Types of Wrist Movements

When we talk about the human wrist, it is an essential part of the body. Apart from acting as a bridge between the forearm and hand, it consists of eight small bones (carpal bones), radius, forearm bones, and different ligaments to provide mobility and better stability during hand movements.

There are different movements a human wrist is capable of. Have a look:

Different Types of Wrist Movements

Your wrist is magical as it can perform numerous movements and positions. These wrist movements can be classified into four different types.

Neutral Position

The neutral position is also commonly referred to as the Handshake position. It is a position where no major forearm muscles are in action to hold the posture. Mostly, this is the position where people are resting their arms to the sides, and the palms are directly facing your body.

However, not all individuals take the handshake position as their neutral position. Some individuals consider a slight wrist extension as their neutral position.

Wrist Flexion

Flexion is described as the movement of the palm being bent downwards towards your wrist. Wrist flexion does apply in our day-to-day activity without you noticing it. Styling your hair or writing can be apt examples of flexion.

Fifty-four degrees is considered the required threshold to perform wrist flexion in daily tasks.

Wrist Extension

Wrist extension can be described as backward bending of the wrist to the posterior section of the forearm. Some of the prime examples of flexion can be typing, combing your hair, pushing the desk away while you plan to get up.

Sixty degrees is considered the required threshold of wrist extension to perform most everyday tasks.

Ulnar Deviation

Ulnar Deviation is the wrist being bent towards the little finger. In other words, it is also termed as Ulnar Flexion. When you’re moving the mouse to the right side or using the pinky finger to press the ‘Enter’ button on your keyboard, the wrist does an ulnar deviation.

The average range of ulnar deviation is between 30-40 degrees.

Radial Deviation

This can be termed as the exact opposite of what we said about Ulnar Deviation. This deviation signifies the bending of the wrist towards the thumb, and in other words, it is called radial flexion.

A prime example can be when you move a horizontal mouse towards the left; this way, your wrist performs a radial deviation in your daily task.

Additionally, the average radial deviation range is about 20 degrees.

Forearm Pronation

It is described as the rotation of the forearm in a counter-clock way in which your hand is facing up in a palm down position.

A good example of this can be maneuvering the horizontal mouse or grabbing the handles while you’re riding a bicycle. Also, the average pronation range is 90 degrees.

Forearm Supination

Supination occurs when the forearm rotation is clockwise with the palms facing upwards. When you’re playing a game of Volleyball or lifting a tray from the bottom are prime examples of Forearm Supination. The supination range is also 90 degrees, similar to pronation.

Types of Wrist & Hand Injuries caused due to Poor Ergonomics:

Poor ergonomics can be a major factor leading to repetitive strain injury (RSI) and wrist and arm injuries. The symptoms for individuals experiencing such an injury can be in the form of mild aches or a sharp paining sensation in the fingers, arms, and wrist.

The most common types of wrist and arm injuries are as follows:

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is a condition that results in the median nerve being compressed. The median nerve runs from the palm to your forearm, passing via the carpal tunnel. The carpal tunnel is a small passageway surrounded by the bones and ligaments on the palm side.

It is a common injury in workplaces, with the symptoms being numbness, tingling in the hand and arm, and sharp pain in the wrist.


  • It is bound to happen more in women.
  • Mostly occurs in individuals aged 40-50 years.
  • 2.7% of the population experiences CTS.

De Quervain’s Tenosynovitis

Also referred to as the Gamer’s thumb, it is a condition in which the tendons that control your thumb get inflamed. This causes a lot of pain in the thumb side of the wrist and can be unbearable at times.

It is still not clear as to what causes De Quervain’s Tenosynovitis. However, activities that require continuous gripping, clenching, or pinching may be the cause of this condition, as per Mayo Clinic.

If you’re a gamer who loves to keep using a controller for a long duration or texting can also be the root cause of it.


  • Females over the age of 40 and Black are more prone to having this condition.
  • Texting regularly at a high speed is also one of the reasons causing De Quervain’s Tenosynovitis.


Tendinitis is the irritation or inflammation of a tendon in which an individual experiences pain in the joints area of the body. This condition leads to tenderness and pain just outside a joint. The most common area where tendinitis can occur is around the shoulders, wrists, elbow, heels, and knee.

One of the known forms of tendinitis is the Tennis elbow. The people most affected are athletes, carpenters, butchers as they overload the tendons in their elbows regularly.


  • On average, it can take about 3-4 weeks for a person to heal from tendinitis with appropriate care.
  • The average effect of Tennis elbow is 1-3% on an overall population. Whereas, 20-50% of tennis players do face this condition in their career.
  • As per the Bureau of Labor Statistics, about 70,000 people or more miss work each year due to tendinitis.

Cubital Tunnel Syndrome

Cubital tunnel syndrome can result in an aching pain to the inside of your elbow or tingling in finger and hand weakness. As you know, the ulnar nerve is one of the three imperative nerves in the arm; it is caused due to the ulnar nerve getting compressed at the elbow.

 If it isn’t treated on time, one may have to deal with permanent damage to the nerves.

Talking about causes of Cubital tunnel syndrome, continuous elbow bending (talking over the phone for hours), or heavy force applied to the elbow (working at the desk continuously) are some of the causes of this particular condition.


  • As compared to Carpal tunnel syndrome, this condition is quite rare.
  • It is the second most commonly occurred peripheral nerve syndrome after CTS.

Intersection Syndrome

It is a painful condition that affects the forearm and wrist. It usually affects the first and second compartments of the wrist extensors as both the dorsal muscle compartments intersect.

It is said to occur in people who do a repetitive resisted extension in the form of weight lifting, rowing, or pulling.


  • The treatment for this condition requires about 2-3 weeks with the help of immobilization of the arm with a splint and using NSAIDs.
  • Wrist extension and forceful flexion activities can cause intersection syndrome.

Radial Tunnel Syndrome

Radial tunnel syndrome results in pain around the top portion of the forearm and hands. It is a condition that is caused to the pressure built up on a nerve of your arm, known to be the radial nerve.

You are most likely to feel pain around the outside part of the elbow, going down further towards the forearm. It can be an annoying ache that can stick around with you for a while. Some of the common causes of radial tunnel syndrome are, overusing the hand to grip, twist, push and pull way too more than in natural circumstances.


  • With the help of surgery, the pain of radial tunnel syndrome can be eliminated by about 70-95% in patients.
  • It is known to be more common among women aged 30-50.

Final Words

Repetitive activities are one of the main causes of wrist and arm injury in individuals. A large number of people spend time working on the computer for long hours, which can take a toll on their body that does affect the wrist and arm.

Conditions like Carpal tunnel syndrome, tendinitis are a result of additional pressure exerted on the body and it ends up showing on you in the form of repetitive strain injury. To help yourself avoid such a situation, it is best to take short breaks during working hours or even do a bit of wrist and arm exercises in between to keep your wrist solid.