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Hand and Wrist Exercises for Arthritis Relief: A Comprehensive Guide to Alleviating Pain and Improving Mobility

A person's hand and wrist with visible signs of arthritis.

Discover Effective Hand and Wrist Exercises to Manage Arthritis and Enhance Daily Functionality

The Significance of Hand and Wrist Exercises for Arthritis Relief

Living with arthritis in the hands and wrists can be challenging, causing intense pain and limiting movement. However, specific exercises can significantly reduce arthritis pain and enhance hand mobility. As a specialist in regenerative medicine, I understand the struggles individuals face with arthritis and the positive impact that targeted exercises can have on their lives.

Why Exercise is Beneficial for Hand and Wrist Arthritis

Performing hand-strengthening exercises is crucial for safeguarding range of motion and functionality. By incorporating these exercises into your routine, you can carry out daily activities with reduced discomfort and improved performance. Jesse DeFilippo, an occupational therapist and certified hand therapist, emphasizes that increased motion leads to greater mobility, decreased pain, and enhanced functionality.

Hand and Wrist Exercises for Arthritis

When doing exercises for hand arthritis, listen to your body. Let pain be your guide and avoid movements that worsen your symptoms. Here are some exercises recommended by the Cleveland Clinic for arthritis relief:

Ball Warm-up: 

  1. Roll a ball on a flat surface with your hand, palm facing down.

Therapy Putty:

Finger Scissors:

  1. Squeeze the putty between two of your fingers as if your fingers are cutting it like a pair of scissors.

Finger Extension:

  1. Shape the putty into a long rope.

  2. Make a hook shape with one of your fingers and loop the putty around your fingernail.

  3. Hold the two ends of the putty with your other hand, like a resistance band, against the bottom of your palm, and try to straighten your hooked finger.

Finger Spread:

  1. Form the putty into a donut, then put it around two of your fingers and spread them apart.

  2. Alternatively, put the donut around all your fingers and thumb and spread them outward to stretch the putty.

Fingertip Pinch:

  1. Shape the putty into a ball and grip it between your thumb and fingertips.

Flat Pinch:

  1. Put the putty between your thumb and straightened fingers, similar to your hand being inside a puppet, and pinch.

Power Grip:

  1. Place the putty in the palm of your hand.

  2. Make a fist and squeeze the putty.

Tendon Glides:

  1. Hold your hand up with your fingers straight, as if you're about to high-five someone.

  2.  Keeping your fingers straight, bend them down at your knuckles (metacarpophalangeal or MCP joints) until they are perpendicular to your palm. Return to their starting position.

  3. Bend your fingers down at their top two joints towards the bottom of your fingers. Return to their starting position.

  4. Bend your fingers at your MCP joints and the joints in the middle of your fingers (proximal interphalangeal joints or PIP joints), trying to touch your palm. Return to their starting position.

  5. Make a fist with your thumb out to the side. Return your hand to its starting high-five position.

Wrist Flexion:

  1. Hold a can, or a weighted handle, palm up.

  2. Bend your wrist upward, lifting the weight, and then slowly lowering it back to its starting position. Think of it as a bicep curl for your wrists.

  3. As you build strength, increase the object weight to continue challenging your wrist muscles.

  4. Complete two sets of 15 repetitions.

Finger Blocking:

  1. Place your left thumb or index finger against your right index finger’s joint in the middle of your finger.

  2. Bend your right finger down along that joint as far as you can.

  3. Perform 10 repetitions for each finger.

When to Seek Professional Help

If arthritis pain interferes with your daily activities, contact a physical or occupational therapist. Consistency in performing hand exercises is crucial, with noticeable relief typically experienced within three to four weeks for those who consistently engage in exercises.

Embracing Exercises and Functional Medicine

By incorporating these exercises and exploring the benefits of functional medicine, you can proactively manage and alleviate the impact of arthritis on your daily life.

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Further Reading

For more information on how exercises can help with arthritis in your hands, read this article from Cleveland Clinic.

Take the First Step Toward Arthritis Relief

If you're struggling with arthritis, don't let it hold you back from living your best life. Reach out to our clinic today to schedule a consultation and discover how our expertise in regenerative medicine can help you find relief and regain control.


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