Nearly 10 million people are living in the UK today with arthritis. That’s nearly 10 million people who have to learn to live with and manage a:
- Lack of grip
- Painful & Swollen joints
While there are many facets to your treatment plan with arthritis, hand therapy could be a great addition to think about. Today, we’re going to dive a little deeper into hand therapy and how it can help you or a loved one regain a better level of mobility and independence at home.
What is Hand Therapy?
It’s a form of rehabilitation for anyone who may have limited or a reduced level of mobility and strength in their hands, wrists, arms and shoulders. It’s a non surgical form of therapy that you can do anywhere. Hand therapy pulls its techniques from:
This includes, stretching, active/resisted exercise, joint mobilizations and many more.
Who Can It Help?
Hand therapy or a hand therapist can help those who would need assistance with their hands and upper limbs. Their main focus is to help you return or regain your independence and productive lifestyle.
Those who visit a hand therapist will likely have issues or difficulty with pain, function or the aesthetic appearance of their hands due to the likes of injury, surgery, an acquired condition or disease.
Their patients would include those with:
- Carpal tunnel
- Hand pain
- Nerve injuries
- Wrist/finger/thumb instabilities etc.
What Are Some Good Hand Therapy Techniques?
Within hand therapy, you will be guided through and asked to complete a list of hand exercises. Your hand therapist will give you all you need to carry them out. The great thing about these exercises, is that you can do them anywhere you want. This will help you increase with hand function and strength over time.
Make a Fist
Here, you will be asked to make a fist over and over again. It may seem simple, but it can actually help strengthen your hands and fingers as well as increase your range of motion.
- Make a fist, wrapping your thumb across your fingers
- Hold this for 1 minute
- Release and spread your fingers wide until you feel tightness.
- Repeat on both hands 4-5 times.
This exercise can help make life that bit easier in the long run. It helps make opening doors, turning on taps and holding things easier. It’s where you hold a soft ball in the palm of your hand and you squeeze it as hard as you can. You would hold this position for 10-15 seconds then release.
Do this 10-15 time per hand and it will help.
This is a good one to help improve the range of motion in your fingers. You do exactly as the name suggests, stretch your claws.
- Hold your hand out, palm facing the ground.
- Bend your fingertips down to the base – this is where your knuckles are on your hand.
- Hold this position for 30-60 seconds and repeat 3-4 times per hand.
The finger lift will help increase the range of motion and flexibility in your fingers. Here’s our quick guide:
- Place your hand flat on the table (palm side down)
- Lift one finger at a time off of the table and then lower it.
- Repeat this 10-12 times per hand
We live in an era where our thumbs can do a lot of the talking. With texting the phone, playing online games etc. Having an exercise for the thumb only seems logical.
The thumb flex will help increase the range of motion in both thumbs. Here’s how to do it:
- You hand is out in front of you. Palm side up.
- Stretch your thumb away from your fingers as far as you can.
- Bend your thumb across your palm so it touches the base of your small finger.
- Hold this for 30-60 seconds
- Repeat at least 4 times per hand.
When it comes to helping make life easier at home, the above hand exercises will help. What can also help is availing of our daily living range.
For those of you who have limited mobility and strength in your hands, wrists, arms etc. Our Uccello Kettle can help with no lifting required. You simply, tilt to pour each and every time. Don’t forget of course, our Uccello Grip Mat. It is the perfect cup guide for the kettle as well as the ideal kitchen aid for opening stubborn lids and giving you extra grip in the kitchen.