Top 5 Hand Exercises to Ease Osteoarthritis Pain

hand Osteoarthritis

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Hey there, my seasoned yet fabulous friend! Are your hands giving you trouble due to osteoarthritis? You may be over 60, but that doesn’t mean you can’t keep those hands in great shape to continue beating the youngsters at cards or knitting the coziest scarves! Don’t fret; we’ve got a solution for you. 

So, buckle up, and let’s dive into the world of hand exercises with a touch of humor to keep things light! Today, we’ll chat about the causes and symptoms of osteoarthritis, the benefits of exercising those fingers, and five easy hand exercises to help ease the pain.

Osteoarthritis: The Culprits 

Osteoarthritis occurs when the cartilage in your joints wears away, usually due to various factors such as:

  • Aging: As we age, our cartilage tends to lose its elasticity and can wear down more easily.
  • Wear and tear: Years of using your hands for daily activities can take a toll on your joints.
  • Injury: Past hand injuries may contribute to the development of osteoarthritis.
  • Genetics: Some individuals may have a genetic predisposition to osteoarthritis.
  • Obesity: Carrying extra weight puts added stress on your joints, including your hands.

It’s like your hands have been working hard for years, and now they’re asking for a little extra care. Imagine your hands are like a pair of your favorite gloves that have been through it all. 

Over time, they wear out and need some extra attention to keep them in good condition. That’s precisely what osteoarthritis is like – a sign that your hands need some love and care.

Osteoarthritis: The Unpleasant Guests (Symptoms) 

Some common symptoms include:

  • Pain: Persistent or intermittent pain in the affected joints.
  • Stiffness: Difficulty moving the joints, especially after periods of inactivity.
  • Swelling: Inflammation around the joints can cause visible swelling.
  • Decreased Range of Motion: Limited mobility in the affected joints.
  • Crepitus: A grinding or cracking sensation when moving the joint.
  • Joint Deformity: Changes in the shape of the joint, often due to bone spurs or erosion of cartilage.
  • Weakness: Difficulty using the hands for tasks that require strength.

You might notice these symptoms when you’re trying to shuffle a deck of cards, open a jar of your favorite pickles, or give your grandkids a high five. It can be quite a nuisance, but don’t worry – we’re here to help you get a grip on osteoarthritis (pun intended)!

The Magical Benefits of Exercises 

Exercises for osteoarthritis can help you maintain or even improve your hand function, reduce pain, and increase your grip strength. Plus, keeping your hands active can help prevent stiffness and keep you feeling more comfortable throughout the day. 

In other words, with these exercises, you’ll be back to your old self, ready to show off your impressive card-shuffling skills or surprise your family with hand-knitted gifts.

Some key benefits include the following:

  • Increased Flexibility: Regular exercise can help improve the range of motion in your joints.
  • Reduced Inflammation: Exercise promotes better blood flow, which can help reduce inflammation in the affected areas.
  • Improved Joint Stability: Strengthening the muscles around your joints can provide better support and stability.
  • Enhanced Mood: Exercise is known to release endorphins, which can help improve your mood and overall well-being.

We cannot emphasize enough how important it is to stay active and exercise regularly. Your hands have served you well throughout your life, and it’s time to show them some gratitude by keeping them in the best shape possible. 

Not only will you feel better physically, but you’ll also experience the mental benefits of staying active, like increased self-esteem and a sense of accomplishment.

So, don’t let osteoarthritis hold you back! Embrace these exercises and make them a part of your daily routine. Remember that consistency is crucial, so try to practice these exercises regularly. And, as always, listen to your body and never push yourself to the point of pain or discomfort.

Exercises: The Hand Workout

Ready to give those hands a workout? Here are five exercises designed to help you ease osteoarthritis pain:

1. Gentle Isometrics:

  • Make a first with your injured hand. 
  • Then place your uninjured hand against your fist. 
  • Gently push the injured fist into the uninjured hand. Muscles should activate, but the injured wrist should not move. 
  • Adjust where you press your fist to activate the different muscles that support your wrist. 
  • You’ll press your wrist four ways: up, down, and then on each side. 
  • Hold the press for 5 seconds, 10 repetitions, and 2 sets in each of the four directions.

a. Isometric Flexion

gentle isometrics flexion , hand exercise to ease osteoarthritis pain

Push your wrist upwards against resistance without changing the angle of your wrist.

b. Isometric Extension

Push your wrist upwards against resistance without changing the angle of your wrist.

Isometric Extension , hand exercise to ease osteoarthritis pain

c. Isometric Abduction

gentle isometrics Abduction

Push your wrist upwards against resistance without changing the angle of your wrist.

d. Isometric Adduction

Push your wrist downwards against resistance without changing the angle of your wrist.

gentle isometrics Adduction

2. Hand Squeezes

Hand Squeezes
  • Sit or stand in a comfortable position.
  • Hold a small ball or a rolled-up towel in your hand.
  • Squeeze the ball or towel as hard as you can.
  • Hold the squeeze for 5 seconds, then release.
  • Repeat this exercise for 10 repetitions in each set.
  • Do 2 sets of this exercise. 

Note: This exercise can help improve grip strength and is a good way to strengthen the muscles in your hand.

3. Rubber Band Finger Spring

Rubber Band Finger Spring
  • Position your wrist and hand in a supported and comfortable position.
  • Place your hand with the palm facing downwards.
  • Apply a taut rubber band around the tips of all five fingers so that the fingers are pinched together, and the tips are touching.
  • Keep your fingers as straight as possible and slowly stretch them apart.
  • Hold this position for 5 seconds, then return to the starting position.
  • Repeat this movement for 10 repetitions in each set.
  • Do 2 sets of this exercise. 

Note: This exercise can help to improve finger strength and dexterity.

4. Thumb Opposition with the Little Finger

Thumb Opposition with the Little Finger Step 1
Thumb Opposition with the Little Finger Step 2
  1. Place your hand flat on a table with the palm facing upwards.
  2. Move your thumb towards your small finger.
  3. Hold this position for 3-5 seconds, and then return your thumb to the starting position.
  4. Repeat this movement for 10 repetitions in each set.
  5. Do 3 sets of this exercise. 

Note: This exercise can help improve fine motor skills and thumb strength.

5. Pincer Grip Strength

pincer grip strength
  • Place your fingers on the edge of a table, desk, counter, or book.
  • Squeeze the edge of the surface with your fingers, holding the squeeze for 5 seconds.
  • Release the squeeze and rest for a few seconds.
  • Repeat the squeeze for two sets of 10 repetitions. 

Note: This exercise can help strengthen your fingers’ muscles and improve grip strength.

When to Seek Help? 

While these exercises are beneficial, knowing when it’s time to consult a professional is essential. They can provide personalized advice and treatment options to help you manage your osteoarthritis. If your pain worsens, your symptoms don’t improve after a few weeks, or you have difficulty performing daily tasks, it’s time to see a doctor.


With these exercises up your sleeve (literally!), you’ll be well-equipped to tackle osteoarthritis pain and keep your hands in tip-top shape. Remember to practice regularly, listen to your body, and consult a doctor if needed. After all, you’re not getting older; you’re just becoming more experienced and wiser! So, go ahead, and show osteoarthritis that it can’t keep you from enjoying life and doing the things you love. Let’s give a hand to staying active and healthy!

Wondering What's Next?

Discover 11 Easy, At-Home “Stretch Exercises” for Stronger, Pain-Free Joints (click below)

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