8 Hand and Finger Exercises To Erase Arthritis Pain

avatarJennifer Dene

Strengthen your hands and soothe arthritic pain with these eight easy hand exercises!

If you’re familiar with the persistent, aching pain of arthritis, then you’re not alone – approximately 350 million people worldwide suffer from this condition. Hand arthritis makes up an estimated 40 percent of these cases. (1)

The most common type of hand arthritis is osteoarthritis, which is caused by age, repetitive joint movement, and trauma. Next is rheumatoid arthritis, an autoimmune disease that first presents in the hands and feet.

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While there is no cure for hand arthritis, gentle exercises can relieve pain by keeping the ligaments and tendons in the hands flexible.

These eight hand exercises can alleviate symptoms like swelling in the finger joints, pain when moving the hands, and loss of dexterity, coordination, and grip strength. You may find it helps to warm your hands in a tub of warm water to ease stiff joints beforehand.

Consider incorporating essential oils into your routine, as research suggests that certain kinds can reduce inflammation and pain. Try diluting five drops of lavender in a carrier oil and massage directly into your hands for the below exercises. (2)

Spacing out these exercises is key. This will keep your hands mobile and strong without over-fatiguing the muscles. Here’s a sample routine to follow.

Morning:

Make a Fist | 4 reps per hand
Cross Palm Thumb Stretch | 4 reps per hand
Table Finger Stretch | 4 reps per hand

Afternoon:

Single Finger Lifts | 6-8 reps per hand
Wrist Circles | 2 sets per hand
Wrist Waves | 2 sets per hand

Three Times per Week:

Finger Extension With Rubber Band | 10 reps per hand
Grip Strengthener | 10 reps per hand


Exercises for Arthritis Pain

Make a Fist | 4 reps per hand

Make-a-Fist-4-reps-per-hand.jpg

This exercise will strengthen your hands and fingers. Move slowly and stop when your hand feels fatigued.

  1. Make a gentle fist.
  2. Hold for 30 seconds.
  3. Release and stretch your fingers wide apart.
  4. Repeat four times on each hand.

Cross Palm Thumb Stretch | 4 reps per hand

Cross-Palm-Thumb-Stretch-4-reps-per-hand.jpg

This exercise strengthens the muscles that are responsible for flexing the thumb and holding objects.

  1. Hold your hand in front of you. Point the palm away from your face.
  2. Open your thumb as far away from your fingers as you can.
  3. Bend your thumb across your palm to touch the base of your little finger.
  4. Hold for three counts and release.
  5. Repeat four times on each hand.

Table Finger Stretch | 4 reps per hand

Table-Finger-Stretch-4-reps-per-hand.jpg

This small movement increases your range of motion by stretching your fingers and palm. Do not force your joints to move further than is comfortable.

  1. Rest your hand against a flat surface.
  2. Gently extend your fingers and press your palm against the surface.
  3. Hold for 30 seconds.
  4. Release and relax your hand.
  5. Repeat four times on each hand.

Single Finger Lifts | 6 reps per hand

Single-Finger-Lifts-6-reps-per-hand.jpg

These lifts strengthen the top of your hand as well as increase flexibility and coordination in your fingers.

  1. Rest your hand against a flat surface.
  2. Gently lift one finger at a time off the surface. Lower it back down.
  3. One rep equals lifting each individual finger, from your thumb to your little finger.
  4. Repeat six reps per hand.

Wrist Circles | 2 sets per hand

Wrist-Circles-2-sets-per-hand.jpg

Wrist exercises can improve circulation and range of motion in the wrist joints, which may alleviate some symptoms of hand arthritis. This movement starts in your wrist and not your fingers.

  1. Rest your forearm against a flat surface. Allow your hand to hang off the edge.
  2. Circle your hand five times each clockwise and counter-clockwise. That is one set.
  3. Repeat two sets per hand, alternating sides.

Wrist Waves | 2 sets per hand

Wrist-Waves-_-2-sets-per-hand.jpg

This exercise improves mobility in the wrist while stretching the forearms and top of the hand. It’s a nice way to relax your wrists.

  1. Rest your forearm against a flat surface. Allow your hand to hang off the edge.
  2. Wave your hand from side-to-side as if it were a windshield wiper. Keep your forearm still as you move your wrist.
  3. Repeat eight back-and-forth repetitions. That is one set.
  4. Repeat two sets per hand, alternating sides.

Finger Extension With Rubber Band | 10 reps per hand

Finger-Extension-With-Rubber-Band-10-reps-per-hand.jpg

Finger extensions will help you open your hand to better grasp objects. A rubber band adds extra resistance to further develop muscle strength.

  1. Wrap a rubber band around the base of your fingers.
  2. Gently extend your fingers against the band.
  3. Hold for three counts and release.
  4. Repeat 10 reps on each hand.

Grip Strengthener | 10 reps per hand

Grip-Strengthener-10-reps-per-hand.jpg

This exercise helps with everyday movements that require grip, such as turning a key, opening a jar, or holding your cell phone. Rest for 48 hours before repeating this exercise and avoid it if your thumb joint is damaged.

  1. Hold a soft ball in your palm.
  2. Squeeze it as hard as you can for three counts and release.
  3. Allow the muscles in your hand to relax.
  4. Repeat 10 reps on each hand.

8-Hand-Finger-Exercises-To-Erase-Arthritis-Pain-infog.jpg

Your Next Workout: 3-Minute Stretch and Massage for Hand Pain
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