Arthritis in hands is mainly of the degenerative type. So, it definitely gets worse with time and age. But,
how can exercise help arthritis in the hands?
Exercise brings with it many benefits. It strengthens the bones and reinforces the muscles around the bones. It also decreases pain and swelling. Exercise also reduces stiffness and increases mobility.
The cells in the cartilage multiply when there is healthy activity. So, when the hands are exercised, the area is supplied with extra nutrients which help the cartilage to repair itself faster.
In the absence of proper exercise, soft tissues, tendons and ligaments become stiff and they shrink.
1. Begin by holding your hands up, fingers pointing upwards. Keep your fingers close together.
Next, bend the middle and end joints of the fingers so that the tips of the fingers are touching the pad of the palm just below the base of the fingers.
Thumbs will remain straight. Your knuckles should be straight at the end of the motion. Slowly return the fingers to the starting position. Repeat several times a day.
2. Start by holding hands up with fingers splayed outwards. Close your hands gently to make a fist. At the end of the movement, the thumb will be wrapped around the fingers.
Do not squeeze. Move gently back to the beginning of the exercise.
3. Hold your hands up, fingers pointing upward and spread apart as wide as possible. Relax the fingers slowly and bring them together. Return to the first position gently and slowly.
4. Hold your hands up. Bring the tips of the thumb and the pointer in contact to form an ‘O’ with these fingers. Repeat the same with each of the fingers, one by one. After each finger is done, straighten it gently and move on to the next finger.
5. Hold hands up and keep fingers and thumb straight. With fingers still straight, touch the tip of the thumb to the pad at the base of the pinky finger. Bring the thumb back to its starting position.
6. Place your hands, palms down on a hard, even surface. Keep your fingers spread wide. Now, walk each finger towards the thumb, one by one. Do not move the thumb or the wrist while doing this exercise.
7. Place the wrist of one hand on a table. With the other hand, pull back all the fingers of the hand until they have maximum comfortable tension. Lift the wrist until the fingers are perpendicular to the floor.
As any arthritis patient will tell you, there will be good days and bad days even for patients with arthritis in the hands. One the bad days, you may not be able to exercise at all.
But the key to relief from pain and stiffness caused by arthritis in the hands is to rest on painful days and exercise the hand on the good days.
Along with the above exercises, arthritis in the hands is relieved by massaging the hands with warm oil or lotion.