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  • Writer's pictureShruti GOCHHWAL

7 Hand Exercises for Arthritis

Arthritis is a condition in which joints are inflamed which leads to pain and stiffness. It is a very common condition. Some studies estimate that more than 20% of Indian adults suffer from arthritis.

Arthritis is a condition that does not have a cure and the treatment focuses on managing the disease by making lifestyle changes and using medication.

The symptoms of arthritis include:

  1. Joint Pain

  2. Stiffness

  3. Reduced body movement

  4. Swelling

  5. Redness

Difficulty in moving wrist

Arthritis makes it difficult to move your body parts. Image Credits: Needpix

If you are suffering from arthritis your doctor will ask you to make some lifestyle changes. One of the most important changes is to perform specific hand exercises that can help you in managing pain due to arthritis.

The following hand exercises for Arthritis are helpful:

Make a Fist

This exercise is very easy to do.

  1. Start by using one hand. Hold your arm out with your fingers stretched and pointing outwards. Slowly move your fingers inward and make a fist.

  2. Hold this fist position for 5 seconds.

  3. Do this with both hands. Do each hand 10 times.

  4. This exercise stretches your joints and provides relief. You can perform this exercise at any time during the day.

Making an O with Your Hand

To do this exercise, hold out your arm and relax your hand. Curve your fingers inward towards your palm until your hand makes the shape of the letter O. Hold this position for a few seconds and then relax your hand again.

Repeat this exercise with each hand. Do not overstress your hands. This helps in strengthening your hand.

Finger and Thumb Bend

The starting position is the same as the previous exercises. Hold your hand with your fingers pointing outwards. Start by bending each finger inside individually. It is important to bend only one finger at once.

After bending the finger inside, hold it for 2 seconds then move on to the next finger. Do the same with each finger and thumb. This exercise also helps in building strength.

Lifting your finger

This exercise is a very good test of strength for your hand. Start by placing your hand palm down a table or other smooth surface. Your goal is to lift a finger upward one by one without lifting your whole hand.

This exercise checks how much strength you have in your hand and helps in building strength. Start by lifting each finger 10 times for a period of 2 seconds each.

Thumbs Up Bend or Table Bend

Hand Exercises for Arthritis - Person doing hand exercise.

An illustration of the table bend exercise. Image Credits: Pxhere

To do this exercise, place your hand on the table in such a way that the pinky finger side of the hand is touching the table while your thumb is pointing upwards in a thumbs-up position.

Bend your fingers inwards to make a fist while keeping your thumb in the same thumbs-up position. This exercise helps in stretching the joints.

Wrist Stretching

Difficulty in moving wrist

Wrist stretching relieves pain, Image Credits: publicdomainpictures

Reducing pain in your wrist can be very helpful for arthritis. To stretch your wrist, hold your hand outward. The goal is to bend the wrist upward and downward so that it gets stretched.  Use your other hand which you are not exercising to carry out this motion.

Do not jerk your wrist. Follow a smooth motion to stretch it.


A person squeezing a stress ball

Using stress balls increases hand strength. Image Credits:  Flickr

Squeezing a stress ball can be an effective exercise to build strength. There are various kinds of stress balls available in the market. Get a ball which fits your hand. Hold it in your palm and squeeze the ball.

This exercise can be done at any time during the day.

What else can be done to help?

These exercises are very effective but in case you require more help you can visit a doctor. There are many different kinds of therapies available to treat arthritis. Some of the common therapies include physiotherapy, yoga and acupuncture.


These exercises are helpful for treating arthritis and should be tried. Along with these exercises, you should also focus on the lifestyle changes suggested by your doctor.

Arthritis is a lifelong condition which often becomes worse with age but it can be managed effectively by doing such hand exercises and using other techniques.

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