Hesperian Health Guides
Range-of-Motion and Strengthening Exercises for the Hand and Wrist
EXERCISE SHEET 9
These exercises can help bring back or maintain strength and range of motion of the hand. They are useful after injuries (or surgery) to the hand. after broken arm bones near the wrist have healed, and for arthritis, or partial paralysis from any cause (polio, spinal cord injury, stroke).
To do these exercises, the person should move the hand as much as possible without help. Then, if motion is not complete, use another hand to bend and straighten the fingers or wrist as much as possible without forcing.
Repeat each exercise 10 to 20 times, at least 2 times every day.
|1. Close and spread the fingers as much as possible.|
|2.||Open.||Bend like this.||Make a fist.|
|3. Make 'O's with the thumb and each finger.|
|After you can make the large 'O's, repeat making the 'O' as small as you can.|
|4. Bend wrist forward and backward.(Backward is more difficult but is especially important.)||5. Spread and close the thumb.|
|6. Bend the wrist from side to side.||7. Turns hands upward and downward--as far as you can.|
MAKING HAND EXERCISES FUN OR USEFUL
Look for ways to make hand exercises fun.
|For example, try to learn sign language from a deaf child.||Or play ‘shadow puppets’ with a light.|
Aids for hand exercise
|You can buy a simple hand exerciser like this.||Or make one like this. If the child makes it herself, that will also be good exercise for her hands.||
Move this post forward or back to make it harder or easier to squeeze the aid.
This ‘acrobatic bear’ is more work to make, but even more fun to exercise and play with.
Trace and cut out these pieces from wood or cardboard.
Fasten arms and legs loosely on body by putting a cord through holes.
Pass a cord through holes in poles and in this piece.
Squeezing the poles makes the bear ‘loop the loop’.
See if you can make the bear sit.
|To have the child squeeze harder, attach a piece of rubber hose or car tire between the poles.||view from above showing how string passes through holes in poles and paws|
A child can also get squeezing exercise with the hands by milking goats, cutting with scissors or shears, punching holes in leather or paper with a hand punch (while making things), by washing and wringing clothes, and in many other ways.
See examples of how different kinds of exercises are used for different disabilities.