Many people suffer from an inability to move their hand and use it as they had in the past, often after a tendon injury, stroke, or other injuries, and sometimes just because of natural aging. People who suffer from this condition occasionally try to use their hands as before and fail, and as a result, lose hope. However, do not despair, because there are some exercises that you can start regularly, starting today, to strengthen and restore your hand, and they are all recommended by occupational therapists. Here are 9 exercises that are divided into 3 levels of difficulty, choose your set based on your hand’s strength level. In the end, you will also see a video that fully demonstrates how each exercise is performed as well as more level 1 exercises that are suitable for everyone.
Level 1 exercises for hand rehabilitation
If you have difficulty performing simple hand movements, these are the exercises you should start with. For them, you will only need a table, and your strong hand to help you work your weak hand until it can do the exercises on its own.
1. Palm up and down
- Place your weaker palm on the table facing downward.
- Use your stronger hand to flip your palm upward. Use only your stronger hand’s fingers when assisting.
- Flip your palm back with your strong hand and repeat 10 times.
2. Bend the wrist up and down
Place your elbow on the table and use your stronger hand to stretch the wrist up and down.
Perform the exercise slowly 5 times.
3. Bend the wrist to the sides
- Place the weak palm on the table facing downward.
- Use the stronger hand to move the weaker hand from side to side. Make sure the movement is done from the wrist.
- Repeat the exercise slowly 5 times.
Level 2 exercises for palm rehabilitation
After you’ve achieved some control over your weaker hand, proceed to level 2. For these exercises, you’ll need a table, pen and a small bottle filled with water. Note that even at this level, it is still recommended to perform level 1 exercises as a warm-up
1. Finger bending
- Place your weaker palm on the table, facing up.
- Place a small bottle filled with water on your palm and keep your fingers relaxed.
- Slowly bend your fingers to catch the bottle, then release.
- Repeat the exercise 5 times.
2. Wrist curl
- Put your elbow on the table, hold a bottle in your weak hand, and hold the weaker hand’s arm with your stronger hand.
- Bend the wrist upward and then release it slowly.
- Repeat the exercise 10 times.
3. Grip and release
- Place a pen on the table and hold it with your weak fingers.
- Then, slide the pen on the table from one side to the other, and release it.
- Make sure your fingers gently grip the pen and use as little force as possible to move it.
- Repeat the exercise 5 times.
Level 3 exercises for palm rehabilitation
These exercises are a bit more complex, and if you can do them you can regain control of your hand. They may be a little challenging, but the results will be very good. For them, you will need a table, a pen, and 8 coins.
1. Pen spin
- Place a pen on the table and use your thumb and index finger to spin it.
- Try not to move your shoulder during the exercise, although you will be tempted to do so. You should use only your thumb and index finger.
- If you can, try to slowly pick up the speed.
- Spin the pen quickly for 15 seconds.
2. Coin drop
- Start by placing eight coins in a row on your weaker hand’s palm.
- Use your thumb to slide one coin so you can catch it with your index finger and thumb.
- Place the coin on the table and continue to do so with the other coins.
3. Finger curl
- Place the elbow of the weaker hand on the table, and bend it so that your palm is at shoulder height.
- Make the OK sign by bringing your thumb and index finger together, press and release.
- Repeat this with your middle, ring and pinkie finger, and do it 7 times in total with each.
As mentioned above, Level 1 exercises can be used as a warm-up for level 2 and 3 exercises. You can see other Level 1 exercises in this video: