Why Do Push-Ups Make Me Feel Pressure in My Interphalangeal

 Push-ups are a popular exercise that targets various muscles in the upper body, including the chest, shoulders, and arms.

However, some individuals may experience an unusual sensation of pressure in their interphalangeal joints during or after performing push-ups.

This article aims to explore the reasons behind this phenomenon and provide insights into how to address it.


Push-ups may cause pressure in your interphalangeal joints due to factors such as incorrect hand positioning, insufficient wrist flexibility, lack of upper body strength, or existing joint or hand issues. These factors can result in an uneven distribution of weight, increased strain on the fingers, or limited mobility. Addressing these factors through proper hand placement, wrist flexibility exercises, strength training, and seeking guidance for pre-existing conditions can help alleviate the pressure on your interphalangeal joints during push-ups.

Remember, it’s important to listen to your body and make adjustments to your exercise routine as needed to ensure safety and prevent injuries.

Incorrect hand positioning.

When doing push-ups, hand positioning plays a crucial role in distributing the weight evenly across your palms and fingers.

Placing your hands directly under your shoulders means that your hands should be aligned vertically beneath your shoulder joints. This positioning helps maintain a stable and balanced position throughout the exercise.

By spreading your fingers apart and pointing them forward, you create a wider base of support. This wider base allows for better weight distribution and reduces the strain on any specific finger or joint.

Imagine your hand as a tripod with your palm and three points of contact formed by your thumb, index finger, and pinky finger.

This distribution of weight across multiple contact points helps prevent excessive pressure on any individual finger or joint.

Additionally, when your fingers are spread apart, it engages the muscles in your hands and forearms, providing more strength and stability.

This is particularly beneficial when performing push-ups, as it allows you to generate more force and maintain proper form throughout the exercise.

Overall, the correct hand positioning with fingers spread apart and pointing forward, along with hands under your shoulders, ensures that the weight is evenly distributed across your palms and fingers.

This reduces the likelihood of experiencing excessive pressure or discomfort in your interphalangeal joints during push-ups.

Why Do Push-Ups Make Me Feel Pressure in My Interphalangeal

Insufficient wrist flexibility.

Insufficient wrist flexibility can lead to increased pressure on the fingers during push-ups.

When your wrists lack mobility, they may have difficulty maintaining a neutral position, causing your fingers to bear more weight and strain.

To address this issue, incorporating stretching exercises and wrist mobility drills into your routine can be beneficial.

These exercises aim to improve the range of motion and flexibility in your wrists, reducing the strain on your fingers and interphalangeal joints.

Here are a few exercises you can try to enhance your wrist flexibility:

Wrist Stretches:

Gently stretch your wrists in different directions to improve their mobility. You can perform wrist extensions and flexions, where you bend your wrist up and down. Another option is wrist circles, where you rotate your wrists clockwise and counterclockwise.

Wrist Rotations:

Extend your arm forward with your palm facing down. Using your other hand, gently apply pressure and rotate your wrist in circular motions. Repeat in both directions.

Wrist Flexor and Extensor Stretch:

Extend your arm forward with your palm facing up. Use your other hand to bend your hand backward (wrist extension) by gently pulling your fingers back.

Hold the stretch for a few seconds. Then, flip your hand so that your palm is facing down, and gently pull your fingers towards you (wrist flexion) to stretch the opposite side of your wrist.

Prayer Stretch:

Bring your palms together in a prayer position in front of your chest. Slowly lower your hands while keeping them pressed together until you feel a stretch in your wrists and forearms. Hold the position for a few seconds before releasing.

Wrist Circumduction:

Extend your arm forward with your palm facing up. Make circular motions with your wrist, gradually increasing the size of the circles. Repeat in both directions.

Incorporating these stretching exercises and wrist mobility drills into your warm-up routine can help improve your wrist flexibility over time.

It is essential to perform these exercises gently and within your comfortable range of motion. If you experience any pain or discomfort, it’s advisable to consult a healthcare professional for guidance.

Lack of upper body strength.

If you have insufficient upper body strength, especially in your chest and triceps, you may unintentionally rely more on your fingers and hands to support your body weight during push-ups.

This can lead to increased pressure on your interphalangeal joints.

To address this issue, it is essential to gradually build strength in your upper body through exercises that specifically target the chest, triceps, and other relevant muscle groups.

By strengthening these muscles, you can reduce the strain on your fingers and hands during push-ups.

Here are some exercises that can help you develop upper body strength:

Chest Press:

Lie on a flat bench or use a stability ball, holding dumbbells or a barbell at chest level. Push the weights upward, extending your arms fully. Lower the weights back down to the starting position with control. This exercise primarily targets the chest muscles.

Tricep Dips:

Sit on the edge of a chair or bench with your hands placed next to your hips, gripping the edge. Slide your hips off the edge, supporting your body weight with your hands. Bend your elbows to lower your body down, then push back up to the starting position. Tricep dips target the triceps muscles.

Push-Up Variations:

Begin with modified push-ups, where you perform the exercise with your knees on the ground instead of your toes. Gradually progress to full push-ups as your strength improves. Ensure proper form with hands under your shoulders, back straight, and lowering your chest close to the ground. Push-ups engage the chest, triceps, shoulders, and core muscles.

Chest Flyes:

Lie on a bench or use a stability ball while holding dumbbells or a barbell. Start with your arms extended above your chest, palms facing each other.

Lower the weights out to the sides, maintaining a slight bend in your elbows. Return to the starting position by squeezing your chest muscles. This exercise targets the chest muscles.

Overhead Tricep Extension:

Stand or sit with a dumbbell held overhead in both hands. Bend your elbows to lower the weight behind your head, then extend your arms back up to the starting position. This exercise primarily targets the triceps.

Remember to start with weights or resistance that challenge you but allow you to maintain proper form. As your strength improves, gradually increase the intensity or resistance.

It’s important to be consistent with your workouts and allow for proper rest and recovery between sessions.

Building upper body strength will not only alleviate the pressure on your fingers and hands during push-ups but also enhance your overall performance and reduce the risk of injuries.

If you’re uncertain about the appropriate exercises or technique, consulting a fitness professional can provide personalized guidance and ensure you’re on the right track.


Existing joint or hand issues.

If you have pre-existing conditions such as arthritis or joint instability, it is crucial to exercise caution and seek guidance from a healthcare professional when modifying your workout routine, including push-ups.

These conditions can affect the health and stability of your joints, including those in your hands and fingers.

Engaging in exercises without proper modifications or guidance may exacerbate the symptoms or lead to further discomfort or injury.

Here are some reasons why it’s important to consult a healthcare professional:

Individual Assessment:

A healthcare professional can evaluate your specific condition, taking into account factors such as the severity of your arthritis or joint instability, any pain or limitations you experience, and your overall physical condition. They can provide personalized recommendations based on your unique situation.

Exercise Modifications:

A healthcare professional can help you modify your workout routine to accommodate your condition. They may suggest alternative exercises that put less stress on your joints or provide guidance on adapting push-up techniques to minimize discomfort or strain.

Pain Management:

If you experience pain or inflammation related to your joint or hand condition, a healthcare professional can offer strategies for pain management. This may include specific exercises, medications, or other treatments to alleviate discomfort during exercise.

Preventing Further Damage:

By consulting a healthcare professional, you can ensure that you’re engaging in exercises that are safe and suitable for your condition.

They can provide insights on how to protect your joints, reduce the risk of exacerbating your condition, and prevent potential long-term damage.

Remember, every individual’s condition is unique, and what works for one person may not be appropriate for another.

Seeking professional guidance will help you develop an exercise plan that considers your specific needs and limitations.

By working together with a healthcare professional, you can find a safe and effective approach to exercise that promotes your overall well-being while minimizing the risks associated with your pre-existing joint or hand issues.

Here’s a tabular format outlining how, why, when, an example, and what to consider when it comes to push-ups and the factors that may contribute to pressure in the interphalangeal joints:

Factor How Why When Example What to Consider
Hand Positioning Place hands under shoulders Distribute weight evenly During push-ups Hands directly under Spread fingers apart and point them forward. Ensure hands
with fingers spread apart on palms and fingers shoulders, fingers spread are aligned vertically under the shoulders to maintain a
and pointing forward Reduce pressure on joints apart, and pointing forward stable and balanced position.
Insufficient Wrist Flexibility Perform wrist stretches Improve range of motion Before and after push-ups Wrist extensions and Gradually increase the intensity of the stretches and
and mobility drills Reduce strain on fingers flexions, wrist circles drills over time, and listen to your body.
Lack of Upper Body Strength Strengthen chest and Reduce reliance on fingers During push-ups and training Chest press, tricep dips, Start with appropriate weights/resistance and gradually
triceps muscles for support sessions push-up variations increase intensity. Rest and recover adequately.
Pre-existing Joint or Hand Consult healthcare Prevent exacerbation of Before starting exercise Arthritis, joint Seek professional guidance for exercise modifications,
Issues professional for guidance symptoms and further injury routine, especially push-ups instability pain management strategies, and prevention of further
Modify workout routine damage.

This table provides an overview of the factors influencing pressure in the interphalangeal joints during push-ups, along with the corresponding actions to address them.

Remember to consider your individual needs, consult a healthcare professional when necessary, and prioritize proper form and safety during your workouts.



In conclusion, feeling pressure in your interphalangeal joints during push-ups can be attributed to various factors such as incorrect hand positioning, insufficient wrist flexibility, lack of upper body strength, or pre-existing joint or hand issues. It’s important to address these factors to ensure a safe and effective workout routine.

By ensuring correct hand positioning, with hands placed directly under the shoulders and fingers spread apart and pointing forward, you can distribute the weight more evenly across your palms and fingers. This helps reduce pressure on the interphalangeal joints.

Improving wrist flexibility through stretching exercises and mobility drills can also alleviate strain on the fingers. These exercises target the wrist joint, allowing for better movement and reducing the reliance on the fingers for support.

Building upper body strength, particularly in the chest and triceps, is crucial for proper push-up form. Strengthening these muscles will decrease the burden on your fingers and hands during the exercise.

If you have pre-existing joint or hand issues, it is vital to consult a healthcare professional who can provide guidance on modifying your workout routine. They can assess your condition, offer exercise modifications, and help manage pain or inflammation associated with your condition.

Remember to listen to your body, start gradually, and make adjustments as needed. By addressing these factors and seeking professional guidance when necessary, you can perform push-ups safely, minimize discomfort, and work towards achieving your fitness goals effectively.

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