Range-of-Motion Exercises for Hands

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There are different reasons you may want to consider range-of-motion hand exercises. Recovery for an injury to a finger, for example, may include hand exercises to help strengthen muscles and make movement of the finger easier. Range-of-motion hand exercises can also improve the strength and flexibility of hands for people who have arthritis. Consult your doctor to see if these range-of-motion hand exercises are right for you.


Finger Bending

This is an exercise that starts with the hand pointing straight up, the fingers close together and not bent. With the hand relaxed, the end and second joints of the hand are bent so that the fingers point in at a 90-degree angle. Note that the knuckles and wrist are kept straight during this movement, which should be slow and steady. The fingers are then returned to the original straight-up position. Multiple repetitions of this exercise should be performed with each hand.

Fist Making

For this exercise, the hand is held out with the fingers straight and spread apart. Slowly, the fingers are brought down, forming a fist with the thumb over the outside of the fingers. The fist should be a loose one, with caution used so as not to make too tight of a fist. The fingers are then returned to the original position. Multiple repetitions of this exercise should be performed with each hand.

Hand Opening

This exercise begins with the hand held up and the fingers straight, spread apart as far as possible. The fingers are then relaxed and slowly brought together, still straight. The fingers are then returned to the original position. Multiple repetitions of this exercise should be performed with each hand.

Fingertip Touching

The hand is held up with the fingers spread apart to start this exercise. The thumb is then moved across to touch the palm just below the pinkie finger. If that spot on the palm can’t be reached, the thumb should simply be extended as far as possible in that direction. Then, in turn, the thumb and the tip of each finger is touched together. After all fingertips are touched by the thumb, the hand is returned to the original position. Multiple repetitions of this exercise should be performed with each hand.

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