3 Hand Exercises to Manage Arthritis

Grabbing a cup, typing on a keyboard, or carrying a bag—all these actions require the use of our hands, as do most of our daily tasks. Unfortunately, as the years progress, you may start to notice discomfort in your hands due to overuse.

If you are experiencing pain or stiffness in your hands, you may be suffering from arthritis. However, before you panic and start searching “what is arthritis?” rest assured that this condition is a very common, albeit painful, one. 

Arthritis is a chronic, inflammatory condition that causes swelling in one or more of your joints, especially in joints that are constantly being used. This is why arthritis of the hand is both very common and difficult to manage as there are few activities you can do throughout the day that don’t require the use of your hands. 

However, you can pursue some arthritis treatments to get your range of motion back. Read on to learn more about this chronic condition, and explore three types of hand exercises that may help relieve discomfort and slow the progression of arthritis.

Signs and Symptoms of Arthritis

As mentioned earlier, arthritis is an inflammatory condition that affects overactive joints. Stiffness, sharp pain, and reduced range of motion are all key signs and symptoms of the disease. 

While arthritis typically attacks joints, muscular issues can also arise and you may notice muscle weakness or pain in the surrounding areas of the affected joint.

Typically, arthritis affects people who are older, have an underlying condition, or are very physically active and overuse certain parts of their body. Over time, it can lead to severe pain and stiffness, loss of motion, and even surgery to replace the damaged joint.

Hand Exercises for Arthritis

If you have been diagnosed with arthritis of the hand, take a look at the following hand exercises for arthritis that will reduce any swelling and discomfort.

1.Make a fist

Although it sounds easy, making a fist can be difficult when you have arthritis. The key is to do this regularly, at least a few times each day, to build up your muscles and avoid stiff joints. 

Keep your thumb extended outward and slowly clench the rest of your fingers into a fist. Make sure to hold this position for a few seconds, and then repeat at least 10 times throughout the day. Again, the goal of this exercise is to improve the range of motion in your hand and keep it from becoming stiff.

2.Finger lifts

Another exercise you can do throughout the day is called finger lifts. To do this, place your hand palm down on a flat surface. Gently lift each finger, one at a time, as far away from your hand and hold it in place for a few seconds. Keep doing this a few times each day especially if you are typing on a computer. 

This simple exercise will improve blood circulation to your fingers and stretch the joints and muscles in your hand.

3.Thumb and finger bends

Lastly, thumb and finger bends are an excellent way of relieving any discomfort from arthritis. Keep your hand extended and your palm facing up to do this exercise. Slowly raise your thumb and index finger to meet and drop back down again. Do this again, but this time with your thumb and middle finger.

Continue bringing the tip of the thumb together with the tip of each finger, and try to do multiple sets of these each day. 

While this exercise may be slightly uncomfortable to do in the beginning depending on the severity of your arthritis, you will notice an increased range of motion as you continue with this and the above exercises.

Consult a Physiotherapist as Needed!

In addition to performing these basic exercises throughout the day, you may also want some professional assistance for more extensive hand exercises. If so, consulting with a certified physiotherapist is another proactive way of addressing your arthritis.

Here at Delta Physiotherapy & Rehab, located in Mississauga, ON, we are staffed with trained physiotherapists and rehab professionals who are ready to meet with you today! Explore the range of services we offer, and let us help you along your journey to a pain-free life. 

Call us at (905)270-3086 or visit our website to fill out the contact form and make an appointment!

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