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Easy To Do Arthritis Hand Exercises


Over the past few months, we’ve put together a series of exercises on how to move such things as knee, hips, feet and shoulder joints if living with the pain and stiffness of arthritis. It is now widely accepted that one of the best ways to help joints affected by osteoarthritis is to keep them moving, as much as the pain will allow.

Throughout our tips pieces, our Facebook community has asked us for some hand exercises as many people live with arthritis in their hands and fingers. Pain in these joints can be particularly debilitating when the most basic task of holding, opening and gripping things becomes associated with pain. So we’ve teamed up with Function Jigsaw’s Senior Therapist Tom Heeley to put together these simple exercises to do at home that can really help keep your hand and finger joints moving with arthritis. 

As with all exercises if you feel any of these are beyond what you are capable of or cause you pain please stop immediately.

Finger Extensions

 

How To Do It:

Find a small resistance band (you can find specific finger extension bands HERE) and wrap it around your fingers and thumbs. Then, open and close your hand against the force of the band. Repeat several times. 

Purpose:

By applying resistance to the fingers like this you’re building strength in the muscles around the joints to better support them. Forcing the joints to work like this will also bring better circulation to the joints and synovial fluid which can lead to healthier joints. 

Finger Flexion

 

How To Do It:

Take a stress ball, if you cannot find one a tennis ball can also work but be aware it will be harder. Squeeze the ball as hard as you can, without causing pain, and repeat this action several times until your hand feels tired. 

Purpose: 

If you’re living with arthritis in your hands sometimes the most basic of function, like opening a door, or a jar, can seem impossible. This exercise strengthens the muscles in your hand which should, in time, allow you to better grip things. 

Individual Finger Extensions

 

How To Do It:

Lie your hand flat on a surface, it can be the arm of your sofa if you want to be comfortable, and raise each finger, without raising the others where possible, in sequence. 

Purpose: 

Over time you will find this exercise greatly increases the range of motion in your hand. 

Wrist Flexion

 

How To Do It:

Find an easy to hold weight and lie your hand with your wrist and hand over the edge of a flat surface. Gently, without causing yourself pain, raise your wrist as close to a 45-degree angle as you can, lower it gently, and repeat. 

Purpose:

You should feel a slight tightening of muscles in the back of your hand and top of your arm. By making this muscle work you are strengthening it to better support your wrist joint. 

Wrist Extensions

How To Do It:

Take the same weight and surface from the previous exercise and simple flip your arm and hand over so the weight is now facing down (rather than up) just below the surface you’re using. 

Purpose: 

The weight encourages the muscles around the wrist to increase in strength to better support the wrist. You’re also encouraging the joint to move against resistance which can be good for ensuring a better range of motion. 

Further Reading

How Tweaks To Your Diet Can Play A Vital Role In Your Fight Against Arthritis

How To Sleep Better When You Have Arthritis