6 best hand exercises for arthritis that make hands grip stronger.

By Urbanaveed
14 Min Read

Best hand exercises for arthritis provide a manual treatment for painful hand joints. Hand bones: carpals, metacarpals, and phalanges can acquire painful swelling or wearing of the soft end membranes at joints. Hands are like the probes of human beings. Humans’ gross physiology needs hands and fingers to perform necessary operations. The painful or flimsy infrastructure of your hands does not let you do regular basic tasks such as lifting objects, typing, writing proficiently, etc.

Here, we are not discussing these tasks at the pro level but frail hands would not be even competent for performing very basic tasks. Let me introduce the concept of manual or hand dexterity. It is the level of coordination between the body and the mind. If your hands are responsive to your thoughts and your brain, then you have the fine version of hand dexterity. These 6 best hand exercises for arthritis refine your body and brain connection, making your motor skills more sensitive.

How does Arthritis Affect hand functioning?

Before knowing the best hand exercises for arthritis, one should have a slight knowledge of arthritis and how this condition affects the hand bones. Simply flowing definition of arthritis is the wear and tear of cartilage, synovial fluid, or any other component that supports joint movement and wellness. It can be natural with age or it can be as a result of some injury, infection, or an autoimmune disease. Genetics also provides some background stages for the development of arthritis.

Although arthritis has further many forms and divisions, the most common arthritis that affects hand bones is osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis occurs when the cartilage between bones ends at joints and begins to acquire some degenerative mechanisms. Hormonal changes, age, and genetics play common roles in the development of osteoarthritis. Apart from these, lack of regular exercise or nutritional incompetencies can also contribute to the severity of the situation.

A study Reveals Osteoarthritis is more Common in Females

A study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology 2002 about the ubiquity of hand osteoarthritis in the population and its influence on motor dexterity. This study shows that women are more liable to develop hand osteoarthritis. There can be transparent reasons for this result. Women involve themselves in more delicate hand activities with more frequency. Washing utensils regularly, knitting, and crocheting, can be identified as prevailing reasons for this lability.

This study also shows the impact of hand osteoarthritis on daily casual tasks. When asymptomatic patients are compared with those who have symptomatic tenderness of hand osteoarthritis, a 10% reduced ratio is observed. It means patients having symptoms of osteoarthritis have a 10% decline rate while performing activities that demand a fine hand grip and motor dexterity.

Do you know the valuable thing in these best hand exercises for arthritis? It lies in the easiness and effectiveness of these exercises. They wouldn’t require many physical movements (as they only involve hands and fingers). The only thing they require is stamina, patience, and a little time of yours. No one can achieve anything without these basic parameters! The same is the case here. Although they are not very hectic, they require patience.

Most Favorite Sites of Osteoarthritis in Hands

Following are the most favorable locations where osteoarthritis can develop and tend the joints to become painful and stiff.

  • The joint location between 1st metacarpal and wrist carpal bones (Metacarpal-carpal joint), namely the trapezium can develop osteoarthritis. It leads to trembling or a weak thumb, which affects the thumb’s involvement in daily activities. Such activities include lifting utensils, books, holding a pen or toothbrush, etc. Regular exercise that involves thumb dexterity can ease this problem.
  • Another location of osteoarthritis in the hands is the distal interphalangeal joint (DIP joint). The DIP joint is between the last bone of the fingers, the distal phalanx, and the middle phalanx. It affects the cartilage present between these joints and gives rise to pain, redness, and in some cases, the formation of bony masses. DIP joint arthritis limits the hand’s functioning to a greater level as the tip of the fingers becomes useless with time. They become very stiff and tender if the patient does not pay heed to the appropriate actions. The best hand exercises for arthritis which we will practice are the responsive way to address these limited motions.
  • Another location of osteoarthritis is between the middle phalanx and the proximal phalanx. Proximal phalanx are close to knuckles. This form of osteoarthritis is known as Proximal inter-phalangeal arthritis (PIP joint arthritis). The common thing between these arthritis locations in hands is the increased wear and tear of cartilage at these joints. Any of these arthritis forms are equally detrimental and torturous.
Best hand exercises for arthritis.
Visual Representation of 3 common hand osteoarthritis locations.

6 Best Hand Exercises for Arthritis

These exercises cannot promise a permanent treatment for hand arthritis but they can promise betterment in situations if one performs them regularly on moderate levels. We will also learn the detailed benefits of these best hand exercises for arthritis.

First Making and Releasing

Place your hand on a flat solid surface, then slowly curl your fingers backwards to form a fist. After the fist formation, slowly release the fingers back into the original position. Do it slowly and repeat it 5-7 times in the initial stages. This exercise targets the muscular dexterity of the flexor and extensor muscles.

Fist Exercise

Touching Tips

As its name suggests, this exercise is very jovial to do. But it needs a huge amount of patience and doing it slowly by heart is the cornerstone for this exercise. To do this, touch the tip of each finger with your thumb, making a position “O”. Now, you can imagine that this exercise is effective when one does this with an active brain. The concept of dexterity which I explained above, is highly promising in this exercise. When we integrate our mind and body at the connected axis, it upgrades our motor skills.

Thumb Touch Exercise

Finger Spreads

Place your hand flat on a table and spread the fingers as much as possible. After flexible extension, move fingers back to the joined fingers state. This exercise engages the muscles that are responsible for finger abduction. It makes the muscle work that causes the extension of fingers as far from the baseline. Repeating this activity several times uncover the range of motions. When fingers remain in the spread position, engaged muscles and ligaments practice endurance. This helps strengthen the ligaments, muscles, and tendons of the hands. When osteoarthritis limits the finger’s motion due to stiffness, these best hand exercises for arthritis provide the space for finger motion.

Finger Spread Exercise

Ball Squeezing

Pressing a ball or any elastic object in your hand boosts the grip strength of hand muscles. Squeezing a ball with your maximum effort makes the muscles of your hands and forearms fully engage in the activity. Ball squeezing is excellent for building hand endurance and grip.

Note: I didn’t have a ball.

Fingers Lifts

Lifting each finger to maximum height while keeping the hand intact to the surface puts effort on the extensor muscles of the fingers. It puts a force on the hand ligaments and improves hand motor skills. Moreover, finger lifts are fundamentally responsible for finger independence motion. It provides flexibility to the joints between the metacarpals and proximal phalanges.

Finger Lift exercise

Finger Walking

Walk your fingers back towards your palm while keeping the hand on the table has to do something with finger dexterity. Moreover, this exercise is profusely beneficial for recovering from hand injuries as this enhances the finger’s motion. This exercise involves the flexor digitorum muscles that allow the movement of fingers.

How best hand exercises for arthritis are Worth-Doing?

If you keep practicing these exercises on a regular basis, you will see a significant increase in hand motion and flexibility. Following is a better layout to understand how these 6 best hand exercises for arthritis benefit the body.

Motor skill Refinement

Some exercises, which include active brain involvement hone the motor skills. Motor coordination for hand movement is advantageous for performing fragile tasks. Such tasks require delicate movement with brain-responsive actions. From the above-mentioned exercises, thumb and finger touching makes your brain aware of the synchronization assessment.

Improved Dexterity

Fine motor skills make the body-brain connection more synchronized, which exerts a wellness impact on muscular dexterity. It makes you do highly intelligent roles with efficacy, namely typing speedily with correct spellings and spaces, knitting, weaving, etc. Such tasks demand a well-aligned brain with hand movements.

A Freedom from Restricted Gestures

Finger spread and finger walking exercises have a robust contribution to unlimiting hand motions. These exercises give the fingers a sense of independence and somewhat a free hand to show their gestures confidently. Tenderness from arthritis in finger joints can cause pain while doing these exercises, so professional advice should be taken if you experience pain that is unbearable to you.

Inescapable Hands Grip

A firm hand grip can be life-saving! Yes, you need a firm hand grip to handle the foot slip from a sharp rocky cliff. You would also need an inescapable grip to never let the savior opportunities escape in your life. Well, these are just metaphors. In the realm of arthritis in hands, a strong hand grip is a questionable ability as the condition progresses.

Feeble hands are not capable of holding things with the full force your mind wants to exert but the body cannot. Ball squeezing exercises from these 6 best hand exercises devote their benefits to hand grip. Doing this exercise continuously has well-observing effects.

Social Independence

It’s acceptable that these exercises do not start to affect the hands’ motion in the very first place. Again, patience is the milestone. But, in the process, you’ll start to feel socially independent as you no longer depend upon your caretakers or close relations. Hiring a caretaker cannot be affordable for a long time. So, it’s beneficial in all ways that you start to do your things, at a slow and smooth pace.

Moreover, exercise, both mild and intense, has a significant role in relieving mental aggregations. Exercise amplifies mental health in a lot of ways (These ways are explained in the blog whose link is mentioned). Ergo, hand exercises like other body exercises make you socially independent and give you a sense of esteem.

A Professional Advice Would be Better

No doubt, these 6 best hand exercises are beneficial for osteoarthritis patients in all ways. However, some patients have advanced stages of osteoarthritis or cannot bear the pain which is the common bearing at the beginning. If the patient is experiencing pain beyond his bearable limit, he should avoid these exercises and consult a specialized doctor. It would be better!

Share This Article
Student of BSc MLT at NUMS, and Content Writer in Health, Medicine, and Wellness. Finding soothe in writing and spreading knowledge.
  • Pingback: Want To Look Aquiline? Try These 6 Facial Exercises - Habitlearn
  • Pingback: 8 Impactful Ways Physical Exercise Influences Our Mental Health - Habitlearn

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *