There are so many things we do with our fingers and hands without even thinking about it and if each of these movements is accompanied by pain and discomfort, life becomes very difficult. Some conditions can rectify themselves over time and some need expert attention from a physiotherapist. But to start, there are a few exercises to try out to help with less severe hand and finger problems.
Make a gentle fist with your thumb wrapped across the fingers and hold it for 30-60 seconds. Then release and spread your hands wide. Try to do this at least four times with each hand.
Sit ups and press ups may be great for the abs but there are also versions that are good for the hands. Finger stretches increase the motion of your hand and can also help with pain relief. Place your hand palm down on a flat surface and gently straightened your fingers until they are as flat as possible without forcing it. Hold the position for 30-60 seconds then release and try to do this at least four times per hand.
Another exercise to help with motion range is the claw stretch. Hold out the hand in front of you with the palm facing up. Bend over your fingertips to touch the base of each finger joint – hence the claw – and hold this for 30-60 seconds. Release the hand and then repeat at least four times.
Another fitness exercise mimicked is the finger lift. Put your hand palm down on a flat surface and lift one finger off the top then lower it. Try lifting all of your fingers at once if you can. Do this 8-12 times per hand.
A physiotherapist may recommend you make use of special tools to help improve your grip such as a grip strengthener. You squeeze the ball into the palm of your hand as hard as you can and hold it there for a few seconds. The idea is to do this around 10-15 times per session and have around 2-3 sessions a week, leaving at least 48 hours between sessions. If you have trouble with a damaged thumb joint however, don’t try this one.
A similar tool is a pinch strengthen, where a ball or even some kids’ play-doh can do the job. Pinch it between the tips of your finger and thumb and hold it for 30-60 seconds. Do this for 10-15 times two or three times a week with a couple of days rest between. Again, avoid this one if your thumb joint is damaged.