If daily tasks are difficult because you suffer from stiffness, swelling, or pain in your hands, it is possible the right exercises can help you get back to normal.
Therapists typically suggest specific hand exercises depending on the cause of the trouble. Some movements help increase a joint’s range of motion or loosen tight muscles and tendons via stretching. Other exercises strengthen muscles around a joint to generate more power or build greater endurance.
Here are a few exercises that may help improve range of motion and reduce pain, fatigue, swelling, and stiffness in your hands.
Wrist Extension and Flexion:
- Place your forearm on a table on a rolled-up towel for padding with your hand hanging off the edge, palm down
- Move the hand upward until you feel a gentle stretch
- Return to the starting position
- Repeat the same motions with the elbow bend at your side, palm facing up
- Stand or sit with your arm at your side, the elbow bent at 90 degrees, palm facing down.
- Rotate your forearm so that your palms face up and then down.
Wrist Ulnar/Radial Deviation:
- Support your forearm on a table on a rolled-up towel for padding or on your knee, thumb upwards
- Move the wrist up and down through its full range of motion
- Begin with your thumb positioned outward
- Move thumb across the palm and back to the starting position
Hand/Finger Tendon Glide:
- Start with your fingers extended straight out
- Make a hook fist; return to a straight hand
- Make a full fist; return to a straight hand
- Make a straight fist; return to a straight hand
Hold each position for 5-10 seconds and do one set of 10 repetitions three times per day.
All of these exercises should be done slowly and deliberately to avoid potential pain and injury. If you feel numbness or pain during or after exercising, stop and contact your doctor.