Stretching exercises for the hand and fingers like finger bends and fist-making can avoid stiffness. Other treatments may be helpful, but it depends on the underlying reason, and discussing with a doctor is advisable. Hand stiffness can result from various factors, causing discomfort and hindering daily activities. Identifying the root cause of stiffness can help you determine the best treatment plan to relieve your symptoms. Simple Hand Workouts to Avoid Stiffness.
If you want to prevent or relieve hand stiffness, there are various approaches you can consider. Engaging in regular hand exercises is one such option that may prove beneficial. In the following sections, we will explore the reasons why hands can become stiff, different ways to treat it, and seven exercises that can be practiced at home to help alleviate the discomfort.
Causes of hand stiffness
Hand stiffness is a common problem that can impact your daily life. It can cause discomfort, pain, and make it difficult to perform everyday tasks. There are many possible causes of hand stiffness, and understanding them is crucial to finding relief. In this article, we’ll delve deeper into the different causes of hand stiffness and their associated symptoms, risk factors, and treatment options.
Arthritis: A Common Cause of Hand Stiffness
Arthritis is a joint condition that affects millions of people worldwide. It can impact any joint in your body, including those in your hands. The most common symptoms of arthritis include stiffness, pain, and swelling.
There are different types of arthritis, including osteoarthritis (OA), rheumatoid arthritis (RA), and psoriatic arthritis (PsA). OA is the most common type of arthritis and is caused by the wear and tear that occurs in a joint due to aging, overuse, or injury. RA and PsA are autoimmune conditions that cause your immune system to attack the tissues in your joints, leading to inflammation and pain.
Stenosing Tenosynovitis: Trigger Finger and Trigger Thumb
Stenosing tenosynovitis, also known as trigger finger or trigger thumb, is a condition that causes your finger or thumb to get stuck in a bent position. It occurs when the tissue around the tendon in your finger becomes enlarged, making it difficult to move your finger. This condition can be caused by frequent, forceful use of your fingers or thumb, as well as underlying health conditions like RA, diabetes, or carpal tunnel syndrome.
Dupuytren’s Contracture: Thickening of Tissue Under the Skin of Your Fingers and Palm
Dupuytren’s contracture is a condition that causes the tissue under the skin of your fingers and palm to thicken. This can cause your fingers to fold down toward your palm, making it difficult to straighten them.
While the exact cause of Dupuytren’s contracture is unknown, it’s believed to be linked to genetics, as male relatives of patients are more likely to develop the condition. It’s also associated with risk factors like alcohol use and underlying conditions such as diabetes.
Injuries: A Common Cause of Hand Stiffness
Stiffness can also occur after an injury to your hand, such as a fall, blow, or sports injury. Inflammation, scarring, or damage to ligaments and tendons can cause stiffness in your hand.
Treatment Options for Hand Stiffness
Treatment for hand stiffness depends on the underlying cause. In some cases, lifestyle changes like exercise and weight management can help reduce stiffness. Other treatment options may include medication, physical therapy, or surgery. If you’re experiencing hand stiffness, it’s important to speak with your doctor to determine the underlying cause and find the best treatment plan for your needs.
How to Diagnose Hand Stiffness
Hand stiffness can be a frustrating and uncomfortable experience that can affect your daily life. If you’re experiencing hand stiffness, it’s important to know that there are ways to diagnose and treat the underlying causes of this condition. In this article, we’ll discuss the steps that your doctor may take to diagnose the cause of your hand stiffness.
Medical History and Physical Examination
When you visit your doctor with hand stiffness, they will first take a detailed medical history to understand your symptoms and any underlying medical conditions that you may have. They may also ask about your occupation and any hobbies or sports that you participate in, as these can be factors that contribute to hand stiffness.
Following this, your doctor will perform a thorough physical examination of your hand. This can involve observing the appearance of your hand or testing the range of motion of your fingers or wrist. By doing so, they can gain insight into the nature and severity of your hand stiffness.
Your doctor may also order imaging tests to help them view the condition of the tissues of your hand. These can include X-rays and MRI scans, which can reveal bone and soft tissue abnormalities. By using these tests, your doctor can identify any structural changes that may be contributing to your hand stiffness.
In addition to the above tests, your doctor may also order blood tests to detect underlying health conditions that may be causing stiffness, such as RA and PsA. Blood tests can also detect the presence of inflammation, which can be a sign of underlying autoimmune disorders.
Exploring Treatment Options for Hand Stiffness
Hand stiffness can be a challenging and painful condition that can impact your daily life. Fortunately, there are several treatment options available to alleviate symptoms. In this article, we’ll explore potential treatment options for hand stiffness.
Natural Treatments for Hand Stiffness
Before trying any natural remedies to alleviate hand stiffness, it’s important to consult with your doctor. While some natural treatments have been shown to help with pain and inflammation, there’s not enough research to prove their effectiveness. Some natural treatments that could potentially help with stiffness, inflammation, or pain in your hands include:
• Fish oil
• Green tea
• Willow bark
• Devil’s claw
It’s important to note that some natural treatments may not be appropriate for certain conditions or may have side effects. Therefore, it’s always best to talk to your doctor before using any natural remedies.
Over-the-Counter (OTC) Medications
Over-the-counter medications can be used to address stiffness or pain that occurs due to inflammation. Examples of OTC medications include:
• Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin)
• Naproxen (Aleve)
• Acetaminophen (Tylenol)
• Prescription Medications
If hand stiffness is due to conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis (RA) or psoriatic arthritis (PsA), prescription medications can help reduce symptoms and prevent further joint damage.
Splints and Casts
Splints and casts can help to stabilize a joint and can be worn when a stiff joint is painful. They’re often used in cases of overuse, surgery, or injury. It’s important to note that wearing a splint or cast for too long can cause muscles to weaken. Therefore, your doctor may recommend doing hand exercises when the splint or cast is removed.
Steroid injections can help ease inflammation in a joint when OTC medications aren’t effective. These injections can alleviate stiffness and pain due to inflammation for several weeks. However, it’s important to note that they can only be given a limited number of times because of potential side effects, including weakening of tendons and ligaments.
Injections of an enzyme called collagenase may be used to help treat Dupuytren’s contracture. This causes the thickened tissue in the hand to soften and weaken. After numbing your hand to pain, your doctor can then apply various movements to break up the tissue.
When more conservative treatment methods haven’t worked to alleviate stiffness, your doctor may recommend surgery. The type of procedure used depends on what’s causing your symptoms. After hand surgery, your hand may be immobilized using a splint or cast as it heals. You’ll then need to do exercises to help restore strength and range of motion to the affected hand. These 7 exercises can reduce joint pain, stiffness, and improve finger mobility. Performing simple stretches regularly can boost productivity and independence levels.
1. Flex and bend
To steady your arm, rest your bent elbow on a table or armrest while keeping your wrist straight. Commence by bending your fingers downwards and upwards for multiple repetitions. Afterwards, form a fist with your hand and maintain the position for 10 seconds. Finally, flex your fingers upwards as if you were catching a ball, and hold for 10 seconds. These exercises can aid in joint pain relief and increase finger mobility.
2. Finger touches
Start with your palm facing upwards and fingers fully extended. Bend your thumb and reach it across your palm to touch your pinky finger. Hold for 5 seconds and release, returning your thumb to its starting point. Repeat this process for each finger, ensuring to return to the neutral position with palm facing upwards after every touch. These exercises can aid in reducing joint pain and improving finger flexibility.
3. Finger sliding
Spread your fingers apart and place your palm down on a table. Without bending your index finger, slide it towards your thumb and repeat the process for each finger. Return your fingers to the initial position after completion. This exercise helps improve finger dexterity and reduce joint stiffness.
4. Gentle fist
Rest your arm on a table or armrest and form a gentle fist by interlocking your fingers and wrapping your thumb around them. Maintain the position for approximately 45 seconds before releasing your fingers and spreading them apart. This exercise aids in joint pain relief and improves finger mobility.
5. Fingertip stretch
Rest your relaxed hand on a flat surface. Gradually stretch your fingers until they are fully extended and your hand is completely flattened. Maintain this position against the table for 30-60 seconds. This exercise improves joint flexibility and reduces stiffness.
6. Grip strengthener
Improve your grip strength by squeezing a small, soft ball tightly in your hand for a few seconds, then releasing it. Repeat this exercise for 45 seconds per hand and rest for 1-2 days before performing it again. This stretch can enhance joint flexibility and reduce stiffness.
7. Pinch strengthener
Improve your pinch strength by holding a small, soft ball between your fingers and thumb for 30-60 seconds before releasing it. Rest your hand for 1-2 days before performing this stretch again. This exercise can aid in joint pain relief and enhance finger mobility.
Talk to your doctor
Consult your physician if you experience hand stiffness in the following situations:
• happens after an injury
• If hand stiffness is accompanied by constant swelling and pain, it is advisable to seek medical advice.
• Limited wrist or finger movements due to hand stiffness requires medical attention.
• Seek medical help if at-home care does not improve or worsens hand stiffness.
• Medical assistance is essential if hand stiffness considerably impedes daily activities.
Treatment options for hand stiffness include exercise, medication, and lifestyle changes, depending on the underlying cause. Consulting a doctor can help identify the root cause and advise on the most suitable treatment plan.
Hand stiffness can be due to various causes such as arthritis, stenosing tenosynovitis, and injuries. Along with stiffness, pain and limited range of motion can also be experienced in the hand or fingers. To alleviate hand stiffness, different treatment options are available such as medication, casts or splints, injections, and gentle hand stretches. Hand exercises can also enhance flexibility and range of motion. Keep in mind that everyone is unique, and the hand exercises that work for you may not be suitable for someone else. Consult your doctor to discuss your treatment options and decide which exercises are best suited for your needs.