Monday, April 19, 2010

Finger and Wrist Exercises

Updated 3/2017 -- photos and all links (except to my own posts) removed as many no longer active. and it was easier than checking each one.

A few weeks ago I received an email from a reader who appreciated my past post on posture.  She then requested information on exercises and prevention of finger/hand issues from computer/keyboard use.  I replied that I would work on it.
Thanks to TBTAM who reminded me of this with this tweet last week.
Duration of EMR use and upper extremity musculoskeletal symptoms correlated. And I was blaming the blog....

One of my earliest post (June 3, 2007) was  “Good Posture for Sewing (or Blogging)”.  Posture makes a huge difference in body mechanics, be it at the computer, sewing machine, or in the operating room.  Poor body mechanics lead to or contribute to many chronic use issues (ie back pain, carpal tunnel, cubital tunnel).
You and I should consider taking breaks every 30-60 minutes from our computer/desk/sewing machine work and do some stretching exercises for our wrists and hands and body. 
Most involve simply putting all the joints through as full range of motion as possible.
Flex (bend) and extend (straighten) each finger.  Spread your fingers as wide apart as possible and hold for a count of 5.
Flex and extend the wrist.  Move the wrist in a circular fashion with the fingers both relaxed and in a gentle fist. 
Straighten the elbow.  Rotate the forearm so the hand is palm up and then palm down.
Don’t forget the shoulders.  Shrug your shoulders and down, roll then in gentle circles.  Raise your arms above your head with your palms meeting.  Move your arm/shoulder as if you were swimming so as to move the joint through its full range.
Neck Rolls – relax your shoulders and let your head roll forward. Slowly rotate your head in a circle. Repeat five times. has some nice photos (including this one) with instructions on some exercises intended to help prevent carpal tunnel syndrome.
Extend and stretch both wrists and fingers acutely as if they are in a hand-stand position. Hold for a count of 5.

Here are some sites with more exercises:
Typing Games to improve dexterity
Slide show: Hand exercises for people with arthritis by Mayo Clinic Staff
Finger Exercises for Arthritis By Kate McQuade, eHow
How to do Wrist Exercises to Help Arthritis in the Hand By LivingWellYoga, eHow
Finger injuries - causes, treatments and recovery exercises


Jabulani said...

I found it rather amusing to realise that as I was reading your post, I was flexing my fingers and hands without even realising it!!!! I confess though, I was lolloped all over the desk so I immediately sat up straighter just in case you could see from there. Erhem.

And what do you mean stop sewing after an hour?? But I'm just getting into the swing of things by that stage... ;)

Chrysalis said...

Thank you for putting up this post.

Samuel said...

Thanks, I'm gonna go right on the erhem website to see more pictures...