If you are suffering from stiffness, swelling, or pain in your hands, which is interfering with your daily tasks, some hand mobility exercises can help you get back in action.
Arthritis is the most common reason for pain in hands. In arthritis, the cartilage present in the joints starts to break down, which causes pain and stiffness in the finger joints. This pain can get worse if you use your hands for repetitive movements like writing or typing. Gradually you may lose strength in your hands too, which can make even simple everyday tasks difficult such as opening a jar or cooking.
A simple and non-invasive way of improving the flexibility, range of motion, strengthening the muscles, and relieving arthritis pain is by doing hand exercises. It can help improve your hand movements and reduce the discomfort.
The muscles and tendons in hands help in moving your fingers, thumb, and wrist in a certain pattern which helps you in carrying out different motions like writing, holding things, or typing. When the range of motion becomes affected, for example if you can't bend your thumb without pain, you may have difficulty in performing routine tasks like writing or holding objects.
Let’s take a look at a few easy hand and wrist exercises which will strengthen muscles and tendons of your hands and improve the range of motion. They should be practiced gently and consciously to avoid any injury. However, if you feel any kind of pain, numbness or tingling during or after the exercises, stop and meet your doctor.
Try Practicing These Easy Hand Exercises at Home
Make a Fist
- Stretch your one hand out with fingers straight and close together.
- Now gently make a fist. The thumb should be outside of your fingers. Do not squeeze your fingers.
- Slowly open your fist until your fingers are straight again.
- Do this exercise 10 times with one hand, then with the other hand.
- Start with keeping your one hand straight.
- Now slowly bend your thumb down towards the palm. Hold this position for a couple of seconds.
- Straighten your thumb. Now bend your index finger towards your palm. Hold it for few seconds then straighten it.
- Continue the same movement with each finger of one hand, and then do it on the other hand.
- Stretch your one hand out with all the fingers straight.
- Bend your thumb towards the palm and try to touch the base of your little finger. It's ok if you can't reach there. Just stretch your thumb however much you are able.
- Hold the thumb in this position for few seconds and straighten the thumb back.
Repeat this motion 10 times with one hand and then with the other hand.
Make an “O”
- Start with the same position as above.
- Curve and bring all of your fingertips inward until they touch each other. Your fingers and thumb should create the shape of the letter “O.”
- Hold it for few seconds and straighten your fingers back.
- Repeat this exercise a few times on each hand.
- Place your one hand on a table with the palm facing down.
- Now lift only your thumb off the table and hold it for few seconds and then lower it.
- Repeat this movement with each finger by lifting them one by one.
- After you are done with one hand, repeat the entire sequence on the other hand.
Practice these exercises regularly to get best results. However, if you feel you are not getting relief from exercises or your pain and discomfort is increasing, we recommend you meet a Pain specialist at The Pain Center.