Hand Exercises that help Arthritis

Hand Exercises that help Arthritis

Posted on 06/12/2019


Arthritis can occur anywhere in our body, and it is particularly common in our hands. There are two types of arthritis that can affect the hands are osteoarthritis, which is when wear and tear on the protective cartilage that cushions the ends of your bones wears down over time, and rheumatoid arthritis, which is caused by inflammation in the joints.

Arthritis of the hands can be extremely debilitating. Fortunately, there are different things that you can do to help alleviate your symptoms, and many people will be happy to hear that not all of them involve medication. Physical therapy, and in particular hand exercises, have been shown to be very beneficial in reducing swelling and inflammation, counteracting pain and helping patients experience a better range of mobility.

Your physical therapist or hand surgeon will be able to give you some advice about exercises and movements to improve your condition. Here are some effective hand exercises that have been shown to help arthritis. Repeat each between 5 and 10 times, or as directed by your professional.

Clenched Wrist Bends


Rest the side of your hand on a table. Loosely clench your hand and then bend your wrist towards you without taking it off the table. Hold it bent towards your wrist for 2 seconds, then move it back to where you started.

Side to Side Wrist Bends


Rest your palm flat on the table with your fingers and wrist straight. Then bend your wrist to the left as far as is comfortable without lifting your hand. Hold for 2 seconds then bend your wrist back to the center. Then repeat bending your wrist to the right.

Hand Turns


Rest your hand palm down on the table with your fingers straight and your forearm extended. Rotate your wrist so that your palm is face up and as flat as is comfortable. Hold for 2 seconds and then return to your original position.

Hand Clenches


Rest the side of your hand on a table with your fingers outstretched. Clench your hand into a fist, hold for two seconds then release and straighten your fingers.

Finger Curls


Rest your elbow onto the table to support your forearm. Face your palm towards you with your hand loosely clenched. Uncurl each finger (one at a time if you can) until they are fully extended. Hold this position for 5 seconds before closing your hand back into a fist.

Finger Touches


Rest your elbow on the table and turn your palm to face you. Touch your thumb to each finger in turn, holding for 2 seconds then release. Once you have reached your smallest finger, reverse the order and repeat.

Thumb Bends


The thumb is often one of the stiffest digits for people with arthritis. Rest your elbow on the table and raise your hand with your palm facing toward you. Bend your thumb inwards towards your palm, touching it if you can. Hold for 2 seconds then release back to its regular position.

Ball Squeezes


Invest in a small, squishy stress-type ball that you can fit into the palm of your hand. This is great for hand exercises as they allow you to flex and stretch your joints. Squeeze, hold for 2 seconds and release. Then repeat as directed.



If you would like more advice on hand exercises to help with your arthritis, please get in touch with our team of experts who will be happy to help.


Please contact us today to schedule an appointment or get more information about our hand and upper extremity surgical services.