Your hands perform countless small and large tasks each day — from pouring coffee and brushing your teeth, to typing, lifting heavy objects or creating masterpieces.
But aching hands can transform the simplest task into something awful. Hands can hurt for a variety of reasons, from the mechanical to the neurological, say Dr. Hoang Tran, an occupational therapist in Miami. Whether it’s due to your occupation or the result of a disease like arthritis, the pain should not be left unaddressed. There are many ways—including medications and surgery—to get your hands back to work. One of the most important and easiest ways, however, is through therapeutic exercises.
Dr. Hoang Tran, an occupational therapist in Miami, urges you to consult your doctor before leaping into these routines if you have a serious hand, wrist, or arm injury. All exercises should be done slowly and deliberately, to avoid further pain and injury. If you feel numbness or pain during or after exercising, stop and consult a therapist.
Stretching helps lengthen muscles and tendons. Some repetitive tasks, such as typing on a computer or gripping gardening tools, can shorten muscles and leave them tight and painful, say Dr. Hoang Tran, an occupational therapist in Miami. Do these stretches gently, until you feel the stretch, but without pain. Hold the positions for a count of 15 to 30 seconds to get the most benefit. These exercises are particularly helpful for tendonitis and tight forearm muscles, which are common in people who do a lot of computer work.
For each of these exercises, do a set of four repetitions, twice a day. Hold the stretch for 15 to 30 seconds and rest for 30 seconds between each repetition.
Wrist flexor and extensor stretches
- Hold one hand at chest level with the elbow bent.
- With the other hand, grasp the thumb side of the hand and bend your wrist downward for extension (left picture) or back for flexing (right picture)
- To increase the stretch, bend your wrist toward your little finger.
- Repeat the same exercise with a straight arm.
- Switch hands and repeat.
These exercises work muscles against resistance. Hold each position for 10 seconds. Complete one set of 10 repetitions once or twice a day.
Isometric wrist extension
- Hold one hand palm down on a table or other surface. Put your other hand on top of it.
- Try to raise the lower hand, but don’t allow it to move.
- Switch hands and repeat.
Isometric wrist flexion
Follow the same steps as above, but with your palm facing up.
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We provide hand therapy for various hand-related conditions, physical therapy, and massage therapy. Our Miami clinic offers an open and friendly environment where you will feel comfortable being treated by an OT/CHT in a one-on-one setting.
The material contained on this site is for informational purposes only and DOES NOT CONSTITUTE THE PROVIDING OF MEDICAL ADVICE, and is not intended to be a substitute for independent professional medical judgment, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your health.