For some seniors, basis tasks become hard to do. This is because pain, swelling, or stiffness in their hands. Fortunately, it is possible to get back in motion with the right exercises. Depending on the condition, therapists will often suggest a number of different exercises to help reduce pain. These can help with problems that range from golfer’s elbow to osteoarthritis. Ultimately, the goal is to build more endurance and generate more power with your hands. This help in both nonpainful arthritis conditions and inflammation of the tendons (tendinitis).
We are going to discuss a few different exercises that have been suggested by Harvard Medical School experts. Even though this is not a replacement for having a physical therapist if you have a debilitating or painful hand condition, most should see a tremendous benefit. Stop and contact your doctor if you notice any pain or numbness as you do these exercises.
These exercises are going to help increase the overall range-of-motion for seniors. You want to make sure that you exercise three times a day, and do one set of 10 repetitions each time.
Tip #1 – Hand/finger tendon glide
- Stick your fingers straight out as much as possible
- Come back to a straight hand after making a hook fist
- Come back to a straight hand after making a full fist
- Come back to a straight hand after making a straight fist
Tip #2 – Thumb flexion/extension
- Start with your thumb being positioned outward
- Slowly graze your thumb along your palm and return to your original position
Tip #3 – Wrist ulnar/radial deviation
- Your forearm on a table but make sure that you have some padding or support (a rolled-up towel for example). Keep your thumb upwards
- As you go through the full range of motions, you move your wrist up and down
Tip #4 – Wrist supination/pronation
- You can do this exercise both standing or sitting. Keep your elbows at 90 degrees, and have your palm facing down
- Begin to rotate your forearm in such a way that the palm first faces up and then faces down.
Tip #5 – Wrist flexion and extension
- Your forearm on a table but make sure that you have some padding or support (a rolled-up towel for example). With your palm down, keep your hand hanging off the edge
- Move your hand up (you want to feel a stretch)
- Return to your original position
- As you keep your elbow bent at your side, palm facing up, repeat the same motions again