3:16 pm - Friday October 7, 2011

Hand and Wrist Exercise Therapy

Individuals, who have experienced a hand or wrist injury, are recovering from surgery or have been diagnosed with a medical condition such as arthritis may benefit from physical therapy. Your therapy may help restore and strengthen weak, damaged or diseased joints and muscles in your hand and wrist. Your therapist, in conjunction with your doctor, will create an exercise treatment plan to help restore function and mobility.

Combination Therapies, your therapist may administer thermal care, such as the use of heating pads and packs. When combined with hand and wrist exercises, heat helps relieve pain caused by conditions like arthritis and osteoporosis and relieves muscle tension and stiffness. Combined with range-of-motion and strengthening exercises, such as isotonic moves or water therapy, thermal therapy techniques aim to improve and maintain wrist joint function and flexibility. Thermal therapy followed by weight-bearing exercises helps increase muscle strength. Water therapy offers low-impact movements with slight resistance to gradually build strength and endurance.

Palm Press helps stretch the muscles and tendons of the wrist joint and promote flexibility. To perform the basic palm press, place your palms together in front of your chest, elbows bent and extended to the sides. Press the fingertips, knuckles and base of your palm together. Keeping your fingers in contact with each other, lower your wrists as far as you can until you feel a slight pull in the wrist joint. Hold that stretch for five seconds, then relax. Repeat as directed by your therapist.

Flexor Stretches, wrist flexor stretches lengthen the muscles, tendons and ligaments of the wrist for strength, flexibility and enhanced range of motion. Follow your therapist’s instructions for flexor stretches. One example requires you to rest your hands on a table. Flex your right wrist, fingers together and pointing toward the ceiling. Place the palm of your left hand against the fingers of your right hand. Your left palm faces you. Gently press your left palm against the fingers of your right hand, feeling the stretch in your right wrist. Don’t press hard or far enough to cause discomfort. Hold the stretch for five to 10 seconds, then relax. Repeat the exercise on the other wrist, if necessary.

Extensor Stretches, strengthen and increase blood flow to the wrist extensor muscles, tendons and ligaments of the wrist joint with a gentle extensor stretch. Hang your right hand over a table, with your wrist and forearms are supported by the table. Place the fingers of your left hand over the back of your right hand and gently press inward toward your body. You’ll feel this stretch along the outside of your right wrist. Hold the stretch for five to 10 seconds, then relax. Repeat the exercise with the left hand, if necessary.

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