5 Hand Exercises for Arthritis


Finger lifts

Hand stretching and strengthening exercises can help with stiffness and pain.

  • Place the right hand on a flat surface.
  • Begin with the thumb and lift it off the table while keeping the fingers down.
  • Do this for each finger.
  • Repeat with the left hand.

Fist stretch

This is an effective exercise to loosen up a stiff hand; however, remember to be gentle.

  • Slowly and gently bend the fingers into a fist, placing the thumb on the outside of the fist.
  • Gently squeeze and then re-open the hand.
  • Repeat with the other hand.

Claw hand

This is a good strengthening exercise that also helps to loosen up stiff fingers.

  • Begin with the fingers extended on the right hand.
  • Bend the fingers and thumb to meet, forming an “O” or claw shape.
  • Hold for a few seconds and then straighten the fingers and thumb.
  • Repeat with the left hand.

Finger bends

This exercise can improve hand dexterity and flexibility.

  • Begin with the and the fingers extended on the right hand.
  • Bend the thumb towards the palm, hold for a few seconds, then straighten it.
  • Repeat with the rest of the fingers, moving from one finger to the next.
  • Repeat with the left hand.

Wrist stretch

Although pain may be most prevalent in the hands, it is also important to stretch the wrist for maximum relief.

  • Place the right palm down on a flat surface.
  • Gently lift the right forearm at the wrist while keeping the palm on the flat surface.
  • Take the left hand and apply gentle pressure on the right hand.
  • Repeat with the left hand.