15 Effective Wrist, Hand and Finger Exercises for Preventing Injuries

hand and finger exercises

Your hands, fingers, and wrists are an important part of your daily life. We use them every day for almost any task.

Driving, cooking, typing, using a phone, reading a book, picking up our children all require healthy hands and wrists. Injuries and pain in your hands can be incredibly debilitating, so it is important to address any issues that arise.

Or better yet, be proactive and prevent potential injuries to your hands, fingers, and wrists. Here we will share with you 15 hand and finger exercises you can do at home to keep your hands and wrists healthy.

Caring for Your Hands and Fingers

Computers and smartphones have become a staple of daily work and personal life.

Despite the fantastic connectivity and productivity benefits of these devices daily use can put us at greater risk of hand, finger, and wrist injuries. Using these devices requires us to make repetitive and awkward movements that can quickly result in pain and injury.

Some common repetitive strain injuries that may result from overuse include:

  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Tennis elbow
  • Cubital tunnel syndrome (ulnar nerve entrapment)
  • Golfers Elbow
  • Thumb carpal-metacarpal joint dysfunction
  • De Quervain’s tenosynovitis

Carpal tunnel syndrome is the most common hand affliction and impacts nearly 8 million Americans each year. This condition causes pinching in the median nerve in your wrist. This causes pain, weakness, and numbness and tingling in your thumbs and fingers.

Many patients are too dismissive of carpal tunnel syndrome initially, however, when left untreated the condition can become severe and requires intensive treatments, potentially surgery.

luckily there are plenty of simple stretching and mobility exercises you can do at home or in the office to help prevent injury, relieve pain and discomfort, and maintain good hand and wrist health.

15 Hand and Finger Exercises to Relieve Pain and Prevent Injury

These hand and finger exercises will help you improve your flexibility, mobility, and strength in your hands, fingers, and wrists. However, they should not be undertaken by anyone suffering from an injury, with inflammation or joint damage unless recommended by your doctor or health care professional.

This is because in these cases these exercises could cause further damage to your existing injury. If you are experiencing severe pain you should seek professional medical advice before attempting self-care. These exercises are preventative only and for the relief of minimal pain.

Additionally, if any of these exercises cause pain or discomfort do not continue with the exercise, even if you otherwise do not feel any pain. Pain and discomfort is an indication from your body that the exercise is risky for you.

Pain is different from the stretching sensation, however, if you are unsure, stop the exercise and seek professional advice.

1. Prayer Wrist Stretch

First, we will start with wrist stretches. Wrist stretches will help mobilize the wrists which are at risk of overuse injuries from constant keyboard use.

With your palms together in front of your face in a prayer position, squeeze your forearms and elbows together. Slowly spread your elbows apart and lower your hands to your stomach until you feel the stretch in your wrists.

Slowly bring your forearms and elbows together as you raise your hands back to the starting position in front of your face. Repeat this 10-15 times.

2.  Palm Down Wrist Stretch

With one arm extended and your palm facing down, bend your wrist so that your fingers point to the floor. Gently pull your fingers towards yourself with the other hand. You should feel a stretch across the top of your wrist. Hold for 5-10 seconds, switch to the other hand. Repeat 3-5 times on each hand.

3. Palm Up Wrist Stretch

This is the reverse of the palm down wrist stretch. With one arm extended your palm facing up, bend your wrist so your fingers point to the floor. Gently pull your fingers towards yourself with the other hand. Here you will feel the stretch in the underside of your wrist (which will be facing up in this stretch).

Hold for 5-10 seconds, switch hands, and repeat 3-5 times on each hand.

4. Motorcycle Stretch

The next exercise will quickly hit the entire range of motion of your wrists. Tuck your elbows into your side and extend your forearms in front of your body.

With your palms facing the floor, imagine yourself gripping the handlebars of a motorcycle. Move your fists up and down as if revving the motorcycle, lift and lower your wrists as far as you can.

At the top and bottom of each movement hold the position for 3 seconds. Repeat this movement 10 times for each arm.

5. Wrist Side to Side

In the same position as the motorcycle stretch, palms still facing down, move your fists side to side, again extending as far as you can each way. Hold each position for 3 seconds before moving to the other side. Repeat this movement 10 times each arm.

6. Wrist Circles

Again return to the same position as the motorcycle stretch. Now rotate your wrists in full circles towards your body, followed by circles away from your body. In this exercise do not move your forearms, only your wrists. Do each exercise 5-10 times, repeat 3 times.

7. Hand open-and-close

Find a comfortable position for your arms, you can simply have your arms by your side, or with your elbows tucked to your side and forearms extended. Once comfortable make a fist with both hands and hold for 3 seconds.

Next, open your hands and spread your fingers as wide as you can, hold for 3 seconds. Repeat 5-10 times for each hand.

8. Carpal Tunnel Tendon Glides

This is an exercise designed to combat and prevent the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome. Your carpal tunnel is a passageway that connects your hand to your wrist. This exercise stimulates the tendons in this passageway and keeps them moving properly.

Start with your hand up, as if you are signaling someone to stop. This is the start position.

Bend your fingers down and bring the tips of your fingers to the base of each finger. Return to the start position. Now make a fist and gently squeeze. Return to start position.

With your fingers straight, bend all four together and make an L shape. Only where your fingers attach to your hand should bend. Return to start position.

Finally, bend your fingers so that your fingers touch the base of your palm. Here you are bending at the first and middle joints, but keeping the top joint straight. Hold each position for 3-5 seconds, repeat 3 times each.

9.Rubber Band Extensions

You will need a rubber band for this exercise. Rest your arm on a table. Place the rubber band around your fingers. With control extend your fingers outwards against the force of the rubber band.

Hold this position for 3-5 seconds and slowly bring your fingers back together. Repeat this 5-10 times with each hand.

10. Grip Pinch

This exercise helps you maintain your thumb and finger strength. Using the same rubber band, scrunch it into a ball and place it between your thumb and index finger, the same as if you are holding a key.

Squeeze the rubber band between your thumb and finger, applying as much pressure as comfortable. Hold for 3-5 seconds. repeat 10 times each hand.

11. Hand Grip With A Towel

This exercise is important for maintaining your grip strength. Fold a hand towel in half and roll it up. With your forearm resting on a table gently squeeze the towel, applying as much pressure as is comfortable. Hold the squeeze for 5 seconds. Repeat 10 times on each hand.

12. Hammer Forearm Rotation

This exercise will help maintain or improve forearm and wrist strength and mobility. You will need a hammer for this exercise. A hammer is best because of the weight in the head of the hammer. If you do not have a hammer you can use a full water bottle.

Hold the hammer in one hand and rest your forearm on the table. Gently turn the hammer over so your palm is down.

Hold this position for 3-5 seconds. Now gently turn the hammer over so your palm is face up. Again, hold for 3-5 seconds. Repeat this 10 times on each arm.

If you find the hammer too heavy whilst turning it over you can move your grip further up the hammer to make it easier. When doing this exercise make sure your rotations are controlled.

13. Water Bottle Wrist Extension

Another wrist and forearm strengthening exercise. You will need either a 16 or 24-ounce water bottle depending on your strength.

Rest your arm on a table with your wrist and hand hanging over the edge. Hold the water bottle in your hand with your palm facing down. Slowly extend your wrist, raising the bottle.

At the top of the extension hold for 3 seconds. Slowly and with control lower the bottle back down. Repeat 10 times on each arm.

14. Water Bottle Wrist Flexion

This exercise is very similar to the water bottle wrist extension, however, this time your palm will be face up and you will flex your wrist to raise the bottle.

Rest your arm on a table with your wrist and hand hanging over the edge. Hold the water bottle in your hand with your palm facing UP. Slowly flex your wrist, raising the bottle.

At the top of the extension hold for 3 seconds. Slowly and with control lower the bottle back down. Repeat 10 times on each arm.

15. Thumb Work

Thumb work is vital for maintaining good hand and wrist health. After all the opposable thumb is what sets us apart from most animals. You will want to cover the entire range of motion with your thumb work.

First is the push exercise. Here you will make the thumbs-up sign, squeezing your fist gently. Gently pull back on your thumb with your free hand. Apply pressure with your thumb, pressing forward. Hold this for 5-8 seconds, and repeat 3-5 times with each thumb.

Next is the pulling exercise. Again you will make the thumbs-up sign. This time gently push your thumb forward and down with your free hand. Pull back against your hand with your thumb. Hold this for 5-8 seconds, and repeat 3-5 times with each thumb.

Finally is thumb mobility. Start with one palm facing up. now touch your thumb to your pinky finger, followed by your ring finger, middle finger, and index finger.

Now move down and touch the middle of each finger. Lastly, touch the base of each finger. Repeat this 5 times on each hand. If you are specially coordinated or looking for a challenge you can do both hands at the same time.

Your Hand and Wrist Health Routine

Fifteen hand and finger exercises might seem a little overwhelming. But you don’t need to, nor should you, do all 15 in one session or one day. Spending 3-5 minutes, 2-3 times a day is all you need to prevent injury and relieve minor pain and stiffness.

You can create 5 unique hand and finger routines by grouping the exercises in threes. And you can mix this up whenever you like.

You can build your exercises into your regular routines, for example, you can do your thumb work each morning when you wait for your morning coffee. All you need to do is aim for regular routines and you will notice your hand and wrist health improving.

Healthy Hands

Our hand and wrist health is paramount. And it is not just a matter of not being in pain. Maintaining mobility and strength in our hands and wrists will make our lives so much easier, especially as we age.

If you follow our 15 hand and finger exercises and create your own daily hand and finger exercises routines you will begin to notice a reduction in pain and stiffness and increases in mobility.

These exercises will keep your hands healthy and prevent injuries. Just remember that if you are suffering from an injury or moderate to severe pain you should contact the Hand Surgery Specialists of Texas and seek professional medical advice.

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The Hand Surgery Specialists of Texas offers diagnosis and treatment for hand, wrist, and elbow problems in Houston, using the most advanced and minimally invasive medical techniques. Our orthopedic hand specialists and hand and finger surgeons are waiting to provide you with excellent care at one of our hand care centers in River Oaks, Webster, North Houston, Katy/Sugarland, or Baytown


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