Our hands are extremely useful so you want to keep them as mobile and agile and as strong as possible so you can keep doing the things you want and need to do. Sometimes,and particularly as we grow older, pain starts to develop in the hands making it difficult to keep doing what we want and need to do.
Pain in the hands can be caused by several things – a frequent problem I see in my clinic is osteoarthritis of the joints in the hands. It leads to pain and limited mobility of the joints with a reduced grip strength, loss of movement and dexterity of the hands, wrist, and fingers.
The good news is that osteoarthritis is manageable. Preventative measures will not always stop you developing arthritis of the hands, but they can lower your risk and help you manage and improve the pain that comes with arthritis.
- Be aware of the actions that increase the likelihood of developing osteoarthritis. We know using and loading joints repetitive can simply wear out the joints and joint surfaces over time. Doing a range of different activities with your hands is ideal. We tend to experience problems when we do one activity repeatedly without altering the way we do that activity.
Look at what you do and try to vary your hand actions. Even minor changes can unload over stressed joints and muscles and give them some relief. It can be as simple as varying the grip width on the secateurs if you do a lot of gardening
- Improving the strength of your shoulders can sometimes help take some of the strain off your hands and your grip.
- Improve the strength of the muscles in your hands with grip strengthening exercises
- Stretch your hands and wrist daily to help keep the muscles and tendon in your hands flexible and prevent them from seizing up
- Consult with your doctor about appropriate medication to help with any pain.
Four simple exercises you can do daily to help manage osteoarthritis in your hands.
- Hold a ball in your hand and squeeze the ball as hard as you can and hold for 5 seconds.
- Repeat x 10.
- Sit upright in a chair and bring your palms together in front of you close to your chest.
- Gradually lower your hands, keeping the palms of your hands together.
- Hold this position in a stretch for 20 seconds.
- Repeat x 3.
- Sit upright in a chair with your hand placed on a table and your thumb sitting on the edge, pointing towards the floor.
- Move your hand forward while flat on the table, keeping your thumb in position.
- Move your hand as far forward as is comfortable in a stretch, then hold this position for 20 seconds. Repeat x 3
Wall push -up
- Stand up straight facing a wall and place the palms of your hands on the wall at shoulder height and slightly wider than your shoulders.
- Keep your body straight, tightening the buttock muscles.
- Bend your elbows, taking your chest towards the wall.
- Make sure you keep a straight line from your feet to the top of your head.
- Straighten your arms back out again, lifting your chest away from the wall.
- Repeat x 10
Hope this helps, Deb