Arthritis wears away at the cartilage and synovial lining of a joint, which is the cushioning material between bones. When arthritis affects the joints of the hands, it can cause pain and stiffness. That pain can get worse whenever you use the hand a lot—for example, when typing on a computer keyboard or gripping utensils in the kitchen. You may also lose strength in your hands. Weakness in your hands can make it hard to do even the simplest everyday tasks, such as opening jars.
There are some medicinal options for treating hand arthritis. You can take pain-relieving medicines by mouth. There are also injections of steroid medicines to decrease swelling in the joints, and splinting to support and protect your hands. If these options don’t work, you may need to have surgery to fix the damaged joint. As far as home treatments: one easy and noninvasive way to keep the joints flexible, improve range of motion, and relieve arthritis pain is by doing hand exercises.
Make a Fist
You can do this easy exercise anywhere, and any time your hand feels stiff. Start by holding your left hand up straight. Then, slowly bend your hand into a fist, placing your thumb on the outside of your hand. Be gentle don’t squeeze your hand. Open your hand back up until your fingers are straight once again. Do the exercise 10 times with the left hand. Then repeat the whole sequence with the right hand.
First, hold your left hand up straight. Then, bend your thumb inward toward your palm. Stretch for the bottom of your pinky finger with your thumb. If you can’t reach your pinky, don’t worry. Just stretch your thumb as far as you can. Hold the position for a second or two, and then return your thumb to the starting position. Repeat 10 times. Then do the exercise with your right hand.
Place your left hand flat on a table, palm down. Starting with your thumb, lift each finger slowly off the table, one at a time. Hold each finger for a second or two, and then lower it. Do the same exercise with every finger of the left hand. After you’re done with the left hand, repeat the entire sequence on the right hand.
Wrist extension and flexion
Place your forearm on a table on a rolled-up towel for padding with your hand hanging off the edge of the table, palm down. Move the hand upward until you feel a gentle stretch. Return to the starting position. Repeat the same motions with the elbow bent at your side, palm facing up.
Get to know and try out these exercises.