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.


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