Our hands.

We use them every day to get us through many tasks throughout the day.

Texting. Cooking. Writing. Opening Doors. Typing. Carrying Things. Exercise. Giving high fives. And more!

Many times, our hands can become tired, sore and painful. If you have arthritis, tendinitis, carpal tunnel syndrome or other uncomfortable hand ailments, you might experience these symptoms more regularly.

There are many exercises that can help strengthen your hands and fingers, increase your range of motion and provide you temporary, or even longer-term pain relief.

Here are five hand and finger exercises that can help you increase flexibility, dexterity and strength.

1. Grab a Squeeze Ball

Grab a soft ball and hold it in your palm, squeezing it as hard as you can, without causing your hands pain. Hold this position for three to five seconds and then release. Work up to repeating this exercise 10 to 12 times for each of your hands. Continue this exercise two to three times weekly, but rest approximately two days before your next session. This exercise will provide the ability to hold things without dropping them, as well as help you open door knobs throughout your day.

2. Put Up Your Dukes And Make a Fist

Make a fist! With each hand, independently make a gentle fist, then wrap your thumb across your fingers. Hold this position for up to one minute, then release and spread open all of your fingers as wide as you can. Repeat this exercise three to fives times with each hand. This can help you increase your range of motion.

3. Relief When You Exercise

Warming up your hands before you exercise can help alleviate discomfort, which will subsequently have the potential to make your stretching and movement become easier. Treatments suggested include soaking them in warm water, wrapping them in a heated towel or using a heating pad for approximately five to ten minutes. To gain an even deeper warming effect for your hands, you can rub some oil into your hands, put on a pair of rubber gloves and soak them in warm water, a heated towel or heating pad as well. This is a great method to help your hands feel better, especially if you regularly experience pain or stiffness in your hands and fingers.

4. Lift Your Fingers

Lift your fingers! Starting with your left hand, place it flat, palm down on a table. Starting with your thumb, gently lift each finger at a time slowly off the table. Hold each of your fingers one to two seconds, and then lower them. Repeat with your right hand and then repeat eight to 10 times for each hand. This finger lift exercise can help increase the range of motion of our hands, as well as finger flexibility.

5. Stretch Your Wrists

Many people, particularly women, have wrist pain during exercise, especially yoga and lifting heavy objects. Sometimes, they even feel this when lifting their children. The wrist extending stretch can help support these tasks and decrease uncomfortableness. To complete this exercise, extend your right arm in front of you with your palm facing toward the floor. Bend your wrist, pointing the tips of your fingers toward the floor. With your left hand, gently bend your wrist toward you until you feel a mild to moderate stretch in your forearm (that means behind your wrist). Hold this position for at least 15 to 30 seconds, switch to your left arm, and then repeat two to four times.

These helpful hand exercises are great ways to help you keep up your dexterity and flexibility. If you are doing these hand exercises and they are not decreasing the amount of discomfort you are feeling, we recommend you schedule an appointment with your primary care physician for additional assistance in resolving your concerns.

 To see the wide range of services offered at USC Verdugo Hills Hospital, click here.

By Leonard Kim