7 Daily Hand Exercises for Arthritis

Dealing with inflammatory arthritis or osteoarthritis? Exercising can help keep stiffness and pain at bay!

Try these 7 daily hand exercises for arthritis to get those joints moving.

1. Make a fist

Key Benefit: reduce stiffness in all hand joints.

Gently bend digits into a fist and move your thumb on top of digits. Slowly open to fully straighten all the fingers. Repeat 10x.

Hand arthritis exercise: make a fist
Make a fist

2. Make a “C”

Key Benefit: improve thumb stability.

Make a “c” shape with the thumb and fingers keeping the index, middle, ring and pinky together. Hold this position for 10 seconds, repeat 10x.

Hand arthritis exercise: make a C
Make a C

3. Fingertip taps

Key Benefit: increase finger mobility.

Tap the thumb to the tip of each finger, one at a time. If you can’t touch each fingertip, reach as far as you can without increasing pain. Cycle through each finger 10x.

Hand arthritis exercise: fingertip taps
Fingertip taps

4. Thumb bends

Key Benefit: increase thumb mobility.

Bend the thumb across the palm of your hand to reach to the bottom of the pinky. If you can’t reach all the way to the pinky side, reach as far across as you can without causing pain. Hold for 3 seconds, repeat 10x.

Hand arthritis exercise: thumb bends
Thumb bends

5. Finger spreads

Key Benefit: increase finger mobility.

Place hand flat on a surface, spread all fingers and thumb apart as far as you can while keeping the hand flat on the surface and hold position for 3 seconds, then bring fingers back together.. Repeat 10x.

Hand arthritis exercise: finger spreads
Finger spreads

6. Wrist bend down

Key Benefit: increase wrist mobility.

Bend wrist down to point fingertips toward the ground. Hold position for 10 seconds, then move wrist back to a straight position. Repeat 10x

Hand arthritis exercise: wrist bend down
Wrist bend down

7. Wrist bend up

Key Benefit: increase wrist mobility.

Bend wrist up to point fingertips up toward the ceiling. Hold position for 10 seconds, then move wrist back to a straight position. Repeat 10x

Hand arthritis exercise: wrist bend up
Wrist bend up

A few words of caution:

  • Exercises should not cause a lot of pain. You may feel a little bit uncomfortable doing these exercises, especially if they are new to you. But, at no point should you feel a sharp or shooting type of pain or extreme discomfort. If you do, that is your indicator to stop and take a break.
  • Start exercises slowly. You don’t want to push through or rush through these exercises. The goal is to move slowly through your full range of motion.
  • If in doubt, check with your physician. These are only general recommendations, and it’s always better to ask your doctor before starting an exercise regimen. If you can’t complete the recommended repetitions, you can modify what works best for your body.

Do you struggle to do these daily hand exercises consistently?

Reactiv has developed games that you control using these exercises instead of tapping on your phone. You use the same movements that are described here to move the game objects around.

It makes your daily routine a lot more fun to complete, and it also distracts you from the discomfort you might be feeling in your joints!

For example, this is the game you play to do the first exercise “Make a Fist”:

Bubble Shooter Game

You can try the app for free here:

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