Hand and Wrist Exercises

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1 Hand and Wrist Exercises Information for Patients Carers Relatives Physiotherapy Department Weston General Hospital Grange Road Uphill Weston-super-Mare BS23 4TQ Tel: Website: Ref: PL_TPH_004_1.2_WristHandExercises

2 The wrist and hand Your wrist and hand are made up of many small bones supported by ligaments and muscles. These allow the hand to carry out heavy activities that involve gripping and more delicate movements such as writing. There are many ways your hand may be injured. Common injuries are: sprains breaks (fractures) tendon damage It is usual for you to receive specialist care from an orthopaedic doctor. Your hand may be bandaged or put in plaster depending on your injury. Physiotherapists can assess and give advice on your injury. This may include: pain relief exercises when to return to work 1

3 Pain relief and swelling During the first two days after your injury some pain may be due to swelling in your hand. To limit this swelling: 1. Place your hand on your chest above the level of your heart. Try to reduce the amount of time you let your limb hang down. 2. Use a cold pack on the affected area eg a pack of frozen peas wrapped in a damp towel for minutes at a time. Check the skin regularly to prevent getting an ice burn. 3. If the feeling in your hands is not normal you must check with your doctor or therapist before putting ice on the area. 4. Firm but gentle massage from your fingers back up toward your body. This will stop stubborn swelling from becoming fibrous or permanent. Exercises Exercises can help to: reduce swelling and therefore pain reduce stiffness in the joint increase strength in the hand. 2

4 The following exercises should only be done within your pain limits. Begin with 5-10 slow repetitions of each exercise. Gradually increase the number of repetitions to 20. After three days it is normal to experience some discomfort and pulling during these exercises. Mobilising Exercises Exercise 1 Forearm supported on a table, hand relaxed over the edge. Extend the wrist and clench your fist - relax and let your hand drop. Repeat... times Or Bend your wrists forwards and backwards. 3

5 Exercise 2 Hold fingers and wrist straight Bend wrist towards the little finger. Repeat... times Or Keeping fingers clasped and thumbs facing you, bend the wrist towards and away from you. Keep forearms still. Exercise 3 Forearm on a table. Turn palm up and down keeping elbow still and bent at 90 degrees. Repeat... times. 4

6 Or Keeping your forearms together, turn your hands towards and away from you. 5

7 Hand exercises These exercises are designed to regain movement in your hand. 1) Keeping your fingers straight, bend at the knuckles. 2) Bend at the tip and middle joints of the fingers, then straighten. 3) Make a fist then straighten fingers 6

8 4a) Touch thumb to each finger. b) Bend and straighten the thumb tip c) Reach with thumb across palm and straighten. 5) Palm on a table Spread fingers and bring them together. Repeat... times. 6) Practice picking up small differently shaped objects with your fingers e.g. paper clip, small marble, coins, small pieces of paper. 7

9 Stretching exercises 1. Hold the fingers of the hand to be stretched. Gently extend the wrist until you feel the stretching at the inside of the forearm. Keep your elbow straight. Stretch approximately 20 seconds - relax. Stand with the palms of your hands on the edge of a table. Keep your arms straight and fingers bent downwards. 2. Lean forward with your body to increase the bend at the wrist. Hold... seconds. 3. Forearm supported on a table with your hand over the edge and palm facing down. Hold... seconds. Let your hand drop down. Gently assist the movement with your other hand. 8

10 Strengthening exercises 1. Support your forearm on a table holding putty in your hand. Bend your fingers pressing deeply into a sponge/ball of wool. Then straighten fingers as much as possible. Repeat. times. 2. Wrist in mid-position. Put the other hand over the back of the hand to be exercised. Try to lift the back of the hand up while preventing other hand. movement with your Hold approximately seconds. 3. Wrist in mid-position. Put the other hand under the hand to be exercised. Try to bend the hand down while preventing movement with your other hand. Hold approximately seconds 9

11 Mobilising Exercises Exercise 1 Forearm supported on a table, hand relaxed over the edge. Extend the wrist and clench your fist - relax and let your hand drop. Repeat... times Or Bend your wrists forwards and backwards. 10

12 If you would like a copy of any letter written about you between one health professional and another, eg between the hospital doctor and your GP, please ask the person who is treating you. Help us prevent the spread of infection. Please: Make sure your hands are clean. Wash and dry them thoroughly and/or use the gel provided. Observe infection control notices around the hospital. Please ask if you need this information in large print, Braille or an audio version. Help is available for people who require this information in a language other than English. Please contact the Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) on Patient Information Leaflet Website: Ref: PL_TPH_004_1.2_WristHandExercises

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