Hand therapy exercises can increase the strength and dexterity of the fingers and hands. They are particularly helpful in strengthening fine motor skills after an event that causes neurological damage, such as a brain or stroke.
Additionally, hand-strengthening exercises such as these can also aid in preventing diseases like arthritis from getting worse. If you’re interested in adding some hand exercises that are therapeutic to your routine at home, take a look.
This hand therapy guide has exercises for all skill levels. It’s divided into simple and difficult exercises. Follow the links below for a jump to any section:
Stretching Exercises for Extremely Stiff or Paralyzed Hands
Each therapeutic home exercise routine should begin by warming up; your hands aren’t other.
For those with hand muscles paralyzed due to neurological injuries such as stroke, it is recommended to begin by doing passive exercises. It is the practice of using your normal hand to help the hand that is affected complete the exercises. It can not only aid in preventing muscle stiffness following the stroke (spasticity) However. It could aid in the introduction of movement into your hand affected by the injury.
- Wrist Extension and Flexion
To perform this hand dexterity workout, begin with your forearm placed on the table. Your hand should hang from the table’s side by putting your palm on the table. Then, move your hands up and down, and bend towards your wrist. After you’re done, do it again while keeping your palm up.
- Thumb Extension and Flexion
For a different gentle exercise, begin with your palm open like you were indicating the number 5. Next, you can practice moving your thumb towards your finger’s little finger, indicating the number 4. Continue moving your thumb between these two places.
- Wrist Stretch
While your fingers are still interlaced, gently move your wrist in the direction of the affected one and stretch it there. Keep this stretch for 20 seconds, then release. Repeat the opposite side.
Patients recovering from strokes or brain injury might encounter these four exercises as challenging enough. Stop here and go through these 4 exercises at a high rate of repetition.
The importance of repetition and movement is as they help alter the brain’s neural wiring (via the process of neuroplasticity) and improve hand performance.
- At-Home Therapeutic Exercises
For those who have the ability to move their hands, it is possible to use everyday household objects as part of your exercise routine at home. These tasks are easy but effective ways to build your fine motor abilities.
- Stacking Coins
Take a few pieces of coins and try stacking them over one another. This can help to improve coordination and fine motor abilities.
Try stacking the coins according to size. The largest coins should be at the top.
- With each finger, you can pin the clothespins
To build up your finger strength, use a clothespin to practice pinching it using various fingers. Begin with your index finger and thumb before moving onto your middle finger, your thumb, and then the ring finger. Finally, you can move to the pinky. Utilizing your index finger, thumb and middle finger makes an effective tripod grip.
- Playing Board Games
If you’re looking to make things more enjoyable and exciting, try playing board games such as checkers or Chess, which require you to work on your fine motor skills while the pieces move around and stimulate your brain to perform scanning decisions, deciding the sequential tasks.
- Playing a Virtual Piano App
Returning to playing instruments can be a wonderful hand exercise in occupational therapy because it’s a useful task. A second option to consider is if you don’t have an instrument. To get started, download a virtual piano or guitar-playing app, and then practice using your mobile.
If you return to an activity that you had previously performed prior to the stroke, your brain will remember the movement pattern and then naturally triggers the normal muscle movement.
Physical Therapy Hand Exercises
Palm Up and Down
Place your palms on the table. Then, use your hand that is not affected to flip your palm downwards. This improves wrist and hand mobility. Do this ten times.
Wrist Bend Movement
Bend your wrist gently upwards and down while keeping your arm against the table, keeping the hand extending past the table’s edge. It increases the flexibility of your wrist, which is essential for greater hand movements and range of motion. Repeat ten times.
Wrist Side Movement
Place the palm of your hand on the table. Use the other hand to turn your wrist from side to side.
Place a bottle of water or soup can into your hand and place your palms side-up on the table. Make a habit of curling your fingers to hold the can or bottle and then release them. It helps build the strength and flexibility of your hands. Do this ten times.
Grip and Release
Place a pen on it on the table. Release and repeat the process by returning the pen to the opposite edge of your table. These hand therapy exercises should be performed with a Squeeze ball or hand grip strengthener.