Hand and Wrist Exercises

Often I get asked for hand and wrist exercises even by people I am treating for other conditions.  Overuse conditions such as Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and Osteoarthritis are common in the general population.  Poor posture and body mechanics worsen many conditions.

Following are some general hand and wrist exercises.  As with any post on this site, you should see your therapist or doctor for diagnosis, and exercise within the scope of his or her recommendations.

Start with your hand flat.

Now lift your thumb straight up toward the ceiling.  Hold 3 seconds and return to starting position.  Repeat 8-10 times.

Next, keep you thumb down against the table, but move it out away from the rest of the fingers as far as it will go.  Hold 3 seconds, and return to starting position.  Repeat 8-10 times.

You may want to try spreading all the fingers and holding 3 seconds.  

Next we’ll try something a little different:  Try touching the thumb to each of the fingers one at a time.  Go through each finger 5x.

Great!  Now, let’s do something for the muscles that lie under the palm of the hand between the long bones.  They are called lumbricals.  This could be called the puppet exercise, as this hand position mimics those used in puppetry.

The next two are for the wrist.  They are easy, perhaps obvious, ways to stretch. They are an important part of any hand program.

Wrist extension:

Wrist flexion:

The next several photos are a series that comprise a nerve glide for the upper extremity.

Begin with arm outstretched and wrist bent.

Now extend the wrist.

Try turning your head away from your arm and hold 10 seconds, then return to starting position.

Bend the elbow until it looks like you could hold a tray on your hand.

Then bring the hand up toward the ear.

Watch for further posts on hand and arm exercises.


Thanksgiving or Christmas?

Thanksgiving or Christmas?  Which one do you love?  Or is it just that they simply must come in order: Don’t forget to give thanks before you dive into the most materialistic, self-indulgent, stressful, and exhausting season of the year?

I see the holidays differently.  I love Autumn. I love the rich the colors, the harvest, the warm comfort foods, and the family coming together to give thanks for the many blessings God has given.  There is no more elegantly beautiful time of year!

But Christmas is my favorite holiday. It’s not about getting gifts (although I really love to give them).  In fact, I told my family that all I want this year is for them to love me–and they assured me they already do!  The reason I love Christmas so much is that all the world (yes, even amongst those who do not consider themselves “religious,” and even sometimes, amongst those who claim a different religion) seems to come alive and celebrate the season.  And whether the intent of each soul is to worship or not, the party is for Jesus!  Didn’t Jesus bring joy and celebration to folks around him, sometimes in very practical ways?  He turned water into wine at a wedding. He fed 5,000 people when they needed nourishment. He healed the sick and raised the dead!  He taught us not to judge and to forgive.  He taught us to spend time with people in need of hope, and to consider others as better than ourselves.  That sounds like quite a celebration, doesn’t it?  You see, whether it’s overt and intentional, or deep under the surface, Jesus started this party!

Despite the materialistic society we live in, people increase their giving during this season.  Stories of peace and goodwill abound through our social media, through our television specials, our concerts, our music, and the sending and receiving of greetings.  Some employees receive Christmas bonuses, and some without jobs receive gifts of food, clothing, and other necessities.

Yes, we have a long way to go.  We have a lot of needs to meet.  But maybe if we were living in the spirit of Christmas all year long there would be fewer needs, and more people able to feel truly thankful for all that they have received.

And the thing that I am most thankful for, not only at Thanksgiving, but all year long?  A tiny, helpless baby, born in a barn, God with us, Emmanuel, who left his Father’s side in heaven to save a world heaped in sin.  The world back then was as needy of Him as we are today.  And God loved us enough to send us a solution.  Thank you God, for that wonderful first gift.  Thank you, God, for Christmas!

Please enjoy this link to my favorite Christmas Song of all time.  It brings me to tears year after year.