Stiff and painful joints are the hallmarks of arthritis and, at times, can feel unmanageable. However, you might be able to improve flexibility and mobility in your joints to help relieve pain and encourage better movement and independence.
Stretching may help improve the flexibility and mobility of your joints. Performing stretches daily may help contribute to a better range of motion and a greater ability to perform daily tasks.
Range of motion stretches involve moving a joint as far as it can go before trying to push it a little bit further. They can be performed at any time, even if your joints are sore, as long as you do them gently.
Here are a few stretches to target some key joints.
Lie on your back with your legs about 6 inches apart, and your toes pointed towards the ceiling. Slide one leg out to the side as far as you can, then return it to the starting position (try to keep toes pointed up throughout). Do each leg 10 times.
Lie on your back with your hands at your sides, then slowly raise one arm above your head, keeping it close to your ear. Try to ensure your elbow is straight. Extend your shoulder as far as you can, then return to the starting position. Do each arm 10 times.
Open up your hand and extend your fingers. Next, bend each finger at the middle joint to touch the top of your palm (one at a time), then fully open your hand. Repeat 10 times with each hand. Next, move your thumb across your hand to touch the base of your baby finger before stretching your thumb back out.
Sit on a chair that is high enough for you to swing your legs. Keep your thighs on the seat and straighten out one leg in front of you. Hold it for a few seconds, then bend your knee, bringing your foot back as far as possible. Perform 10 reps with each leg.