Whether it’s rheumatoid arthritis or osteoarthritis, hand exercises for arthritis can be an effective way to manage symptoms. The right selection will promote muscle balance, blood flow, and provide relief for pain and swelling in the hands. Keep reading to learn about the best hand exercises for arthritis.
Finger range of motion and flexibility are equally important for maintaining good hand function in spite of arthritis. It is one of many great treatment options for pain relief in the hands.
Sit comfortably with your arm supported on an armrest or table. Keep the hand free to move. You will keep the hand in a loose fist as you rotate the wrist in a circular motion in both directions. After about 10 seconds, you can then alternate opening and closing the hands as you continue to rotate. Continue for 5-10 repetitions or until the joints feel warmed up. Avoid tight gripping or strain.
With the arm supported and palm facing the ceiling, start with the entire hand flat. Then bring all the fingers and thumb together to form an “O” shape with the thumb and fingers and hold 5 seconds. Return to the starting position and repeat 5-10 times.
Repeat the “O” stretch, this time focusing on one finger at a time. Repeat up to 5 times with each finger. Start with a 5-second hold and progress as tolerance and flexibility allow up to 30 seconds. Try to keep to motion fluid and the “O” as rounded as possible (no straight spots).
This exercise requires a wide range of motion, if you cannot do it correctly it is better to avoid it. With the fingers outstretched and palm facing up, bend the fingers until the tips touch the finger pads in the top of your palm. Hold 5 seconds and repeat 10 times.
This is a great cool down to promote circulation to the hand. Simply take your opposite hand and squeeze the entire forearm, wrist, hand, and fingers (thumb tucked into the fingers) with a rhythmic motion. Go up and down the entire lower arm three times total on each side as tolerated.
Maintaining hand strength and muscle balance is key for arthritis management. There are many tools you can use to strengthen your hand, such as a rubber band or therapy putty. Make sure to keep the fingers in good alignment throughout, with no hyperextension of the joints.
Using a small ball, cushion, or therapy putty in a ball, simply place the ball between the tips of the thumb and pointer finger. Squeeze the ball between fingers to what is comfortable and hold for 3-5 seconds. Repeat this exercise with each finger. Complete 10 times up to 2 times per day.
Using a small ball again, place it between two of the fingers starting with the pointer and middle finger. Squeeze the fingers gently together as you squish the ball, holding 3-5 seconds. Repeat between all three web spaces (not the thumb and pointer finger) 10 times up to 2 times per day.
Rolling the therapy putty into one large ball, place it in the palm of the hand. Squeeze the fingers into the palm until the putty squeezes out the side and hold for 5 seconds. Repeat 10 times up to 2 times per day.
Roll the putty into a long cylinder and wrap it around the fingers and thumb, starting with the tips of the fingers and thumb all touching. Alternatively, wrap a light rubber band around. The closer the wrap is to the tips of the fingers the more challenging it will be to spread the fingers apart. Now, spread the fingers and thumb apart as you stretch the putty. Repeat 10 times for up to 2 times per day.
When completing exercises, always keep these tips in mind to help you minimize aggravation of symptoms and prevent further complications of hand arthritis.
Keep the following tips in mind for hand arthritis exercises:
For more details on how to manage your hand arthritis symptoms, see our full guide on Home Remedies for Hand Arthritis.
If hand arthritis pain is affecting your quality of life or has resulted in tingling, numbness, weakness, severe pain, or joint deformity, seek medical advice from an orthopedic doctor, physical therapist or another certified hand therapist as soon as possible to determine the best treatment options for you.
With any hand exercise program, the most important step is to protect the affected finger joints. This promotes strength, circulation and other healing properties while maximizing joint health. Staying consistent with exercise will maximize hand function and quality of life.SHOP HAND ARTHRITIS PRODUCTS
Next Pages:Preventing Arthritis in Hands