In the U.S., more than 52.5 million adults are diagnosed with arthritis, which includes arthritis of the hands, at some point in their lives, asserts the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Unfortunately, up to 9.3 percent of US adults suffer from activity-limiting arthritis, such as being unable to work or type due to hand and wrist pain. However, a hand doctor can help reduce these symptoms through occupational therapy, medication treatment, or hand surgery. Since surgery is a last resort, those with arthritic hands can be proactive by learning more about several exercises to improve arthritis.
Exercise 1: Thumb Stretches
With a relaxed hand, move the thumb across the palm to touch the base of the small finger. As explained by the Mayo Clinic, this exercise helps to increase functionality and reduce inflammation within the joints of the thumb and wrist.
Exercise 2: The Scratch
Hold up the hand, and keep the fingers straight, similar to the position to push on a door. Make a clawing motion by bending the tips of your fingers down to barely touch your palm. Relax.
Exercise 3: The Fist
Believe it or not, making a fist actually helps to improve blood flow and reduce inflammation throughout your hand. Rest your arm on a flat surface, and make a fist. Hold the position for five seconds before releasing, and repeat the exercise.
Exercise 4: The Claw
Holding the hand upright, create a “C” with your fingers and thumb. Imagine the way your hand looks when grabbing a glass or bottle. The key to performing this exercise is slow, repetitive motions, especially if you have not been able to perform this exercise previously.
Exercise 5: “A OK”
Think about when you hear someone say, “A OK.” This exercise takes advantage of the small circle formed when your index finger touches your thumb. Recreate this circle with the thumb and each finger. Repeat this exercise several times for each finger, alternating if necessary.
Exercise 6: Sliding Fingers
Place your hand on a flat surface with your palm down and fingers out as straight as possible. Your thumb will be pointed toward the center of your body. Slide your index finger toward the thumb. Proceed to slide each finger individually toward the thumb. This exercises the joint where the fingers attach to the hand.
Arthritis may occur as an autoimmune response or from the gradual wear down of tissues in your joints, explains the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. Each of these exercises can help to reduce the progression of arthritis. However, you should always speak with your physician about the best exercises for your specific condition. If you suffer from unyielding pain in your hands or wrists due to arthritis, schedule a free hand screening with a hand specialist at the Florida Hand Center.