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Push-Ups & Carpal Tunnel: 7 Answers You Should Know

Carpal tunnel syndrome can be a very uncomfortable and painful issue to deal with.

If you have carpel tunnel, you may be wondering which exercises you can do with it.

So, in this article, we look to answer some of the important questions relating to carpal tunnel and push-ups.

In it, we discuss how push-ups can impact carpal tunnel, whether it be good or bad, whether you should do them if you have carpal tunnel or not, and the timeframes from surgery (if required) through to being able to do push-ups as normal again.

Man with carpal tunnel holding his wrist

Can Push-Ups Cause Carpal Tunnel?

Push-ups might not necessarily cause carpal tunnel but they can certainly play a part in the condition developing.

When you do standard push-ups, a lot of pressure is placed on your wrists.

If you think that up to 70% of your total body weight is being lifted in push-ups and your wrists are one of the main supporting points of the exercise, you can see why your wrists can take a bit of a beating.

If you already have carpal tunnel, then exercises that put so much pressure on your wrists (like push-ups) can lead to your condition getting worse.

Push-ups won’t directly cause carpal tunnel but they could be a contributing factor.

Are Push-Ups Bad For Carpal Tunnel?

Normally, if you have carpal tunnel, you’ll probably find push-ups quite uncomfortable.

Unless you find a push-up variation that reduces some of the pressure placed on your wrists during the movement, push-ups could quite easily be bad for carpal tunnel.

That doesn’t necessarily mean that push-ups are 100% bad and should be avoided at all costs…

…But it does mean that you’ll need to listen to the advice your doctor gives you, and be prepared to alter your training plan to help your carpal tunnel heal before doing push-ups again.

Can Push-Ups Help Carpal Tunnel?

Some people argue that push-ups can help carpal tunnel.

This makes a bit of sense as, by doing push-ups, you can actually strengthen the muscles around your wrist which can ultimately lead to less pressure being placed on them during the exercise.

However, while push-ups can help strengthen your wrists to help prevent carpal tunnel, if you already have it, push-ups will probably be a bad choice of exercise to do.

There may be some push-up variations that are better suited to people with carpal tunnel but regular push-ups will likely need to be removed from your workouts for a while.

Can You Do Push-Ups With Carpal Tunnel?

As a general rule, it’s not usually a good idea to do push-ups with carpal tunnel.

The exercise puts too much pressure on your wrists which can cause your symptoms to worsen and can delay your recovery too.

If you’re working with a physiotherapist, doctor, or other medical professionals, then they may (in some circumstances) get you to do push-ups to aid recovery.

However, the push-ups you do will likely be an adapted variation and they’ll need to be done under control and in the right way to reduce the risk of making the condition worse.

How To Do Push-Ups With Carpal Tunnel

Doing push-ups with carpal tunnel is risky and isn’t usually something that should be done.

However, there are some push-up variations that could allow you to do a form of push-ups without putting too much pressure on your wrists.

Wall push-ups can be a potential variation to do with carpal tunnel as much less of your body weight is being supported by your upper body (and wrists).

If your symptoms aren’t too bad, you may also find that incline push-ups are a viable exercise to include in your training too.

The key thing to remember when it comes to push-ups and carpal tunnel is that if there’s an alternative exercise you can be doing that won’t put as much pressure or strain on your wrists, it’s probably a better idea to do that exercise instead of push-ups.

Push-ups can make carpal tunnel worse, so unless you’ve been told otherwise by a medical professional, it’s usually best to avoid them until you have fully recovered.

Can You Do Push-Ups After Carpal Tunnel Surgery?

Certainly not immediately, but as long as everything went well, you should be able to do push-ups comfortably again after carpal tunnel surgery.

This will obviously be dependent on what your doctor advises you, but usually, push-ups will be possible after carpal tunnel surgery.

How Long After Carpal Tunnel Surgery Can You Do Push-Ups?

The amount of time needed after surgery before you can exercise again will be discussed with you by your medical team.

However, usually, by 6 weeks after surgery, most (if not all) exercise restrictions would have been lifted and you can train pretty much as you did before.

It’s worth keeping in mind though that you may still feel some levels of discomfort in your wrists when doing exercises like push-ups for up to 6 months after surgery.

This isn’t always the case but it certainly can happen in some instances.


In summary:

  • While push-ups are unlikely to cause carpal tunnel, they can put pressure on your wrists which can make the condition worse.
  • You can do push-ups after carpal tunnel surgery, but you should always check with your medical doctor how long to wait before doing push-ups.

That’s all for this article, but you may be interested to learn more about hand release push ups vs regular? Or perhaps you’re wondering how many pushups for a pump?

Hope this helped!