Daily tasks can be painful and difficult when arthritis and other types of joint issues affect the hand and wrist. There are numerous medications and treatment solutions that can help ease the pain but exercise is one of the best and noninvasive solution that can provide many benefits.
Hand exercises can help strengthen the muscles that support the hand joints. Movement with exercises and stretches will help to keep ligaments and tendons flexible resulting in better range of motion and function.
What is happening to cause the pain you might ask? The lack or cartilage or cushioning in the joint causes inflammation and irritation. Pain can increase with repetitive tasks such as typing or gripping. The production of synovial fluid which lubricates the joints can be increased when the hand and wrist are exercised and stretched regularly- this will improve joint function.
Take a look at the exercises below and give them a try!
Begin sitting with your hand in a comfortable position. Touch the tip of your thumb with one finger, then separate and repeat with each of your other fingers. Make sure to keep the rest of your arm relaxed during the movement.
Begin sitting upright in a chair with your elbow resting on a table, palm facing forward, and fingers straight. Make a circle with your thumb and index finger. Straighten them back out and repeat. Make sure to keep your wrist straight during the exercise.
Begin sitting upright in a chair with your hand resting flat on a table. Spread your fingers apart as far as is comfortable then bring them back together and repeat. Make sure to keep your fingers on the table during the exercise.
Seated Claw Fist AROM
Begin with your wrist and fingers straight. Curl your fingers toward your palm, bending at the middle knuckles. Return to starting position then repeat. Make sure to keep your wrist straight during the exercise.
Seated Full Fist AROM
Begin with your wrist and fingers straight. Curl all of your fingers toward your palm into a fist—light squeeze or no squeeze. Return to the starting position then repeat. Make sure to keep your wrist straight during the exercise.
Wrist Circumduction AROM
Begin sitting with your arm resting on a table and your hand in a fist, hanging off the edge. Slowly rotate your wrist in a circle, first clockwise then counterclockwise. Make sure to keep your wrist relaxed during the exercise.
Standing Wrist Flexion Stretch
Begin in a standing upright position with one arm in front of your body, palm facing the floor. With your other hand, bend your wrist downward until you feel a stretch. Make sure to keep your elbow straight.
Standing Wrist Extension Stretch
Begin in a standing position with one arm in front of your body, palm facing the ceiling. With your other hand, apply a gentle downward pressure on your fingers, bending your wrist and keeping your elbow straight.
Blog post by Farran Jalbert.