7 Hand Exercises to Ease Arthritis Pain

arthritis exercise

Discover Effective and Individualized Arthritic Hand Treatment at the Florida Hand Center

At the Florida Hand Center, our board-certified surgeons recognize that your health is in your hands—literally! We are pleased to offer preventive and therapeutic services—including a free hand screening for you and your loved ones—which can help you get a better handle on your hand pain and dysfunction.

One of the most common issues facing our patients is hand pain caused by arthritis. According to the Arthritis Foundation, this is the leading cause of disability among American adults (although arthritis affects as many as 300,000 infants and children, too). Rather than a single disorder, arthritis includes over 100 different conditions which can cause joint inflammation, joint pain, joint damage, and other signs and symptoms.

Arthritis in the hand is often caused by osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis. Both disorders lead to pain, swelling, and deformities in the joint, along with gradual muscle weakness and difficulty in performing basic daily tasks. Hand treatment for people with arthritis may include oral or injectable medications, splints, surgery, and (importantly) corrective exercises.

7 Exercises to Alleviate Arthritic Hand Pain

Appropriate hand exercises done consistently can improve the mobility of your joints, increase the strength of the muscles supporting and surrounding these joints, alleviate hand pain, and enhance the overall effects of other hand treatment interventions. If you have arthritic hand pain, the following exercises may provide some relief and improve your function:

  1. Fist open and close. Hold your hand open, slowly close it into a fist, hold for 1 to 2 seconds, then open your hand all the way again. Be sure to keep your thumb outside your fingers and don’t “white knuckle” or squeeze hard.
  2. C shape. Hold your hand open with fingers close together. Slowly bend your fingers and thumb into a C shape, as if you were about to grab your opposite wrist. Then return to the start position.
  3. O shape. Hold your hand open with fingers close together. Touch the tip of your index finger to the tip of your thumb, making an O shape. Return to the start position, and then repeat with your middle, ring, and pinkie fingers.
  4. Finger lift. Put your hand palm down on a table. Keeping the rest of your hand still, lift your index finger off the table and hold for 1 to 2 seconds. Lower your index finger then repeat with the middle, ring, and pinkie fingers.
  5. Finger bend. Hold your hand open, then bend your index finger toward your palm. Straighten your index finger, and repeat with each of your other fingers. You can also bend all four fingers at once while keeping your knuckles straight.
  6. Thumb bend. Hold your hand open with fingers close together. Bend your thumb toward the bottom of your pinkie, hold for 1 to 2 seconds, then return to the start position.
  7. Table bend. Place the blade of your hand on the table, pinkie side down. Start with your fingers straight and your thumb pointed straight up at the ceiling. Slowly bend your four fingers toward your palm until they make an L shape, hold for 1 to 2 seconds, then return to the start position.

Try these 10-20 times per exercise per hand, 3 times per day. While some discomfort is normal, these exercises shouldn’t cause excessive pain. Feel free to speak with one of our hand doctors with questions.

Is Your Hand Pain Affecting Your Independence and Quality of Life? Contact Florida Hand Center

If if you’re struggling with arthritic hand pain and you live near Port Charlotte or Fort Myers, call (941) 257-3480 to schedule your appointment at the Florida Hand Center today. Be sure to ask us about our free hand screening to help you maximize your hand health at any stage of life!