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Hand Exercises For Arthritis

What Is Arthritis?

Remember when you could write or type for hours without pain or stiffness? 

Now it seems like you can’t even grip kitchen utensils without feeling discomfort. You might have brushed it off as something else — the weather, your age, a past injury, perhaps. But you’ve noticed over time that your hands (and other joints) are getting worse or even feeling weaker. When this happens, it’s time to talk to a physiotherapist about arthritis treatment.

Arthritis is an inflammatory condition that impacts the joints through the gradual wearing down of cartilage, a soft, cushioning tissue that protects your bones from rubbing together. It irritates the synovial lining, a connective tissue that produces synovial fluid, an important lubricant that protects the joints by reducing friction.

Arthritis in the hands is a serious issue that can affect your quality of life. Not only are pain and discomfort a concern, but this condition can also cause weakness in the hands that can leave you unable to perform routine tasks like opening jars or bottles. Talking to a physiotherapist about arthritis treatment before your condition progresses is critical to maintaining your long-term quality of life.

Symptoms Of Arthritis In Hands

There are three types of arthritis in the hands: 

  • Osteoarthritis:

    • A chronic condition that affects most arthritis patients. Osteoarthritis breaks down cartilage, leaving nothing to cushion the bones in their sockets. The friction caused by your bones rubbing together causes pain, stiffness, and mobility loss, which are the tell-tale symptoms of arthritis in the hands.
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis

    • A long-term inflammatory condition that occurs when your immune system mistakes the synovium for infection and attacks it. As it affects your joints, rheumatoid arthritis causes pain, swelling, inflammation, and reduced function. It is most common in the wrist and fingers. If left untreated, the inflammation can disfigure the hands and fingers.
  • Juvenile Arthritis

    • A term that applies to arthritis that onsets before age 16. There are several forms of juvenile arthritis, all of which cause discomfort and swelling.

Your primary care physician and physiotherapist can diagnose your issue and create an arthritis treatment plan that eases discomfort and helps maintain the use of your hands.

Tips Before Starting Arthritis Treatment Exercises

Your physiotherapist can show you many hand exercises for arthritis that you can do at home. However, before you do so, keep these tips in mind. 

  • Perform your exercises throughout the day
  • Take your time, move slowly, and stop when you feel a strain to avoid injury  
  • Hold each position for two to three seconds and perform the exercises for each hand for ten reps (but stop if you feel discomfort)
  • Focus on your breathing during your workouts to relax and ease stress

These tips will ensure you get the most out of your treatment and physiotherapy exercises for your hands.

Arthritis Treatment Exercises

These hand exercises for arthritis can strengthen your muscles, ease pain, and help you keep your quality of life.

Make A Fist

Source: https://www.webmd.com/osteoarthritis/ss/slideshow-hand-finger-exercises

  1. Make a loose fist with your thumb over your fingers.
  2. Hold between 30 and 60 seconds, then open your fist and stretch your fingers.
  3. Repeat with both hands four times or more.

Finger Stretch

Source: https://www.webmd.com/osteoarthritis/ss/slideshow-hand-finger-exercises

  1. Put your palm on an even surface
  2. Carefully spread your fingers as flat as possible while avoiding forcing your joints
  3. Hold between 30 and 60 seconds, then relax
  4. Repeat with both hands four times or more

Claw Stretch

Source: https://www.webmd.com/osteoarthritis/ss/slideshow-hand-finger-exercises

  1. Hold your hand in front of you with your palm toward you
  2. Curl your fingers down until they touch the bottom joint of your fingers (like a claw)
  3. Hold between 30 to 60 seconds, then relax
  4. Repeat with both hands four times or more

Grip Strengthener

Source: https://www.webmd.com/osteoarthritis/ss/slideshow-hand-finger-exercises

  1. Hold a stress ball or other softball in your hand and grip it as hard as possible.
  2. Hold for three to five seconds, then relax.
  3. Repeat 10 to 15 times per hand, three times a week. Wait 48 hours between this exercise, and don’t perform it if your thumb joint is injured. 

Pinch Strengthener

Source: https://www.webmd.com/osteoarthritis/ss/slideshow-hand-finger-exercises

  1. Pinch a softball or putty between your fingertips and thumb.
  2. Hold this position between 30 and 60 seconds.
  3. Repeat 10 to 15 times per hand, three times a week. Wait 48 hours between this exercise, and don’t perform it if your thumb joint is injured. 

Find Relief With Hands-On Physiotherapy Exercises 

You will see the best results when you incorporate these simple activities into your day. If you struggle to do them or feel pain, talk to your doctor about a more personalized routine or different physiotherapy exercises for your hands. 

Out-patient care lays the foundation for continuous improvement, so make sure you attend every follow-up appointment and contact your physician if you feel something wrong. In addition, save your test results as well as any prescriptions. 

It all begins with the right diagnosis and treatment. Visit Brentwood Physiotherapy to discuss the best physiotherapy exercises to relieve your arthritis pain, rheumatoid arthritis treatment, psoriatic arthritis treatment, arthritis in legs treatment, and more.


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