With your doctor’s what is arthritis in the hand, doing these easy hand and finger exercises can help improve functioning and reduce pain. Heat or Ice for Knee Pain? Brushing your teeth, buttoning your shirt, opening a jar—these are routine daily activities that most people take for granted. Fortunately, «exercising» your hands can help reduce the pain, improve your range of motion, and, ultimately, enable you to perform more easily the various tasks of daily living.
Do You Have Osteoarthritis or Rheumatoid Arthritis? Arthritis of the hands manifests differently depending on what kind of arthritis you have. In OA, the protective cartilage that covers the ends of your bones gradually deteriorates due to wear and tear or, in some cases, to injury. RA does not affect the distal interphalangeal joints. In addition, because RA is a systemic condition, it typically affects joints on both sides of the body. In advanced RA of the hand, various deformities may develop. For example, in a condition known as Boutonniere deformity, the proximal interphalangeal joint flexes and can’t be straightened, while the distal interphalangeal joint extends back away from the palm.
Another example is flexor tenosynovitis, also known as trigger finger. In this condition, the finger becomes frozen in a bent position, as if poised on the trigger of a gun. First, if your pain is caused by RA, don’t attempt to alleviate it with exercise alone. Second, strengthening exercises can be harmful if performed aggressively and should be done in moderation by people with RA. Third, you should perform any type of exercise with caution while you’re having a flare. Ask your doctor if it’s safe for you to try the exercises below.
A CHT can also advise you on other therapies that might be helpful, such as the use of adaptive equipment, protective splinting, and other techniques to reduce pain and swelling. L, a certified hand therapist at Johns Hopkins Hospital’s Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. If both hands are affected, repeat the exercise on both your right and left hand. To reduce pain before you perform the exercises, try soaking your hands in warm water or dipping them in warm paraffin wax. You may even want to try performing some of the exercises with your hands submerged in warm water or while you’re in a heated pool. This is a gentle way to exercise joints and muscles. Water may also act as resistance to help build muscle strength.