An article by exercise physiologist, Jennifer Smallridge.
Consisting of approximately 29 joints, your hand and wrist is both complex and amazing. Our hands are essential for everyday activities, and the ability to maintain a strong grip is closely linked to overall health (even your life expectancy!).
The three most common sites where joint pain happens in the hand are:
• At the bottom of the thumb, where the thumb and wrist come together.
• At the joint closest to the fingertip.
• At the middle joint of the finger.
Although you may wish to rest your hands when they get sore, it is important to get the balance right between movement and stillness at the joints. Around the home, you can also try modifying your activities to avoid overloading the small joints of the fingers, for example:
• Using two hands to support larger items such as saucepans and kettles.
• Using the large section of the palm rather than the fingers to open jars.
• Carry bags by cradling in your arms or where possible, over the elbow or shoulder.
How movement can help:
The right types of exercise have been shown to decrease pain levels, increase grip strength, and increase range of motion at the joints. These benefits, when combined, allow you to continue to do what you love without being held back by your hands.
Did you know:
• The fingers themselves have no muscles. Instead, the muscles that bend the fingers are located in the palm and forearm; and they are linked to the fingers through tendons.
• Holding hands has been shown to decrease levels of cortisol, the stress hormone.
• Approximately 25% of the area of our brain which controls movement (the motor cortex) is dedicated to the muscles of the hands alone.
Before you start:
Do both hands, 10 of each exercise every day.
- Making a fist
- Stress ball whole
- Stress ball 'L' squeezes
- Stress ball whole hand pinches (with tips of thumb and fingers)
Both hands, 2 lots of 10 each exercise every day;
- Wrist curls
- Wrist extensions
- Elastic band finger openers