Gina's Get Fit Blog

Simple Hand Exercises to Help Relieve Arthritis Symptoms

Arthritis is a painful condition and one that many people will experience to some extent as they get older. There are really two types: osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, with the former being by far the most common. Each type of arthritis has a different cause, but the one thing they have in common is that they often affect the joints in the hands. This makes them stiff, painful, and uncomfortable, and since hands are used often throughout the day, it can have a significant impact on life.

Although arthritis can't be cured completely, the symptoms can be relieved somewhat by performing exercises. This can help to make the hand joints more mobile and make your day easier. Here are some good exercises to get your hands feeling freer.

Tennis ball squeezing

This is a very simple exercise that can be adapted to your ability and is easy to do while you watch television or carry out any other activity that doesn't require the use of your hands. Just take an ordinary tennis ball, or one of those squishy stress balls, hold it between all of your fingers and squeeze gently. Don't be tempted to overdo it and strain yourself. Once you've done five squeezes with each hand, shift your grip so you're pinching the ball and repeat this action five times with each hand.

Wrist and finger stretch

Make a fist as tightly as you can without hurting yourself, then slowly uncurl your fingers, bending your wrist back carefully as you go. If you find it easy to bend your wrist quite far, you can increase the stretch by gently pulling back on your fingers using the other hand. Do this twice for each hand, holding the stretched position for about five seconds each time.

Knuckle stretch

Place your hand palm down on a flat surface like a table or desk. Straighten out your fingers so your hand is as flat as possible, but once again, don't push it too hard and hurt yourself. Hold this position for as long as you can up to a minute, rest for a minute, then repeat with the same hand before moving onto the other one.

Finger lifting

With your palm down on a flat surface, slowly lift each finger in turn, holding for a few seconds. You don't need to lift them very high, as any movement off the table will be very beneficial and help increase your manual mobility.