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5 Simple Stretching Exercises to Ease Arthritis in Your Hands & Wrists

As arthritis wears away at the cartilage and synovial lining of a joint, it causes pain and stiffness, making it harder to complete your daily activities. However, regular stretching exercises at home can help keep your hands flexible and improve your range of motion.

Your circulation may also improve and some find relief from pain to a certain extent. To help, we’ve compiled 5 of the easiest and most effective stretches you can do at home.

If you find your hands are particularly stiff from arthritis, try soaking them in warm water for 5-10 minutes to loosen the muscles before you begin.

Start all exercises with your hand in a neutral, relaxed position. Hold your hand upright, with your fingers, thumb and wrist facing upwards. As a warm-up, keep this pose for around 5-10 seconds.

Make a Fist

One of the easiest exercises to increase range of motion in your hands is to make a fist. Gently fold your fingers inward and wrap your thumb around the outside.

(Remember to only stretch until you feel tightness.)

Hold for 30-60 seconds and then release, returning to the starting position with your fingers spread wide. Repeat this for each hand at least four times.

Finger Bend

Holding your hand in front of you, bend the second and third joints of your fingers downward. (This should look somewhat like a claw.) If needed, you can use your other hand to help position the fingers.

The aim is to bend each finger to touch the base of your finger joints, though you should only stretch your hand as far as feels comfortable. If you find your range of motion doesn’t extend this far, try to make a gentle C shape with your hand instead.

Finger Stretch

While it’s important to be able to bend your fingers, straightening them should also be a goal. Place your hand palm-down on a flat surface and then straighten your fingers as flat as you can.

Don’t force your joints to the point of pain – trust that repetition will gradually allow you to straighten your fingers further. Hold this position for around 30-60 seconds and repeat four times for each hand.

Wrist Circles

Before you begin, hold your wrist in position by either gripping your forearm gently in your other hand or resting it against a flat surface, allowing your hand to hang off the edge. Slowly rotate your hand in a clockwise direction five times, and then in counterclockwise. Repeat on both sides.

Wrist Windshield Wipers

This exercise is aptly named – it requires you to move your wrist from side to side like a car windshield wiper. Either lightly grip your forearm or rest it against a flat surface with your hand hanging off the edge. Next, rotate your hands from side to side slowly. Repeat this for both wrists.

We at the Adjustable Bed Specialists hope this list of exercises helps ease your arthritis symptoms. For more tips and advice, browse our previous blog posts.