Hand Rehab: How To Recover From A Hand Injury

STACK Expert Gary Moller explains how to rehab an injured hand. Step 1: get your doctor's permission.

After a hand injury, it's important to rebuild strength and mobility. Hand rehab is designed to help you recover from injuries or surgeries.

Not every injury is the same. But there are some things you can do to regain normal use of your hand.

Before you start doing any exercises, you should always consult the doctor or nurse who treated you.

Moving your hand the wrong way or doing the wrong exercises can slow down your recovery. Always make sure that you are doing the right thing for your hand.

RELATED: Tips for Working Out With a Hand or Arm Injury

Here is the list of the most common exercises for rehabbing your hands and fingers:

Making a Fist

To make a fist, close your hand gently, then wrap your thumb carefully across your closed fingers. Hold this position for 30 seconds to a minute, depending on your comfort level.

After the appropriate length of time, release your hands and spread your fingers out. When you spread them, you should feel a stretch. However, do not stretch them if you feel any tightness or pain.

For best results, perform this hand rehab exercise with both of your hands at least four times.

RELATED: A 3-Step Solution for Hand and Wrist Pain

Thumb to Fingers Touch

When you touch your thumb to your fingers, you are focusing on mobility. Move your thumb to touch each of your fingers. You only need to touch one finger at a time to get the right effect. If your thumb and your finger make an O-shape, you are not doing it correctly.

You can do this exercise several times a day. Whenever you think of it, you can perform it. It should help reduce stiffness and increase your finger mobility.

Stretch Your Wrists

A hand injury doesn't affect just your hands or fingers. In many cases, it affects the whole area, including your wrists. Because of this, you need to stretch your wrists along with performing other exercises for your hands.

RELATED: How to Treat Your Sprained Wrist at Home

To stretch your wrist, begin by using your healthy hand to support your injured forearm. Stretch your wrist down gently, and only as far as you can. Do not force it to go any further. Return your hand to a neutral position before moving your wrist up toward your body.

You can perform this wrist stretch about 10 times, and it's easy to do. Do not stretch past your comfort level. You can also perform the wrist stretch on your healthy hand. It helps to support general wrist health.

Strengthen Your Grip

Once your hand begins to recover, work on strengthening your grip. This will help strengthen your entire hand. To strengthen your grip, pick up a rubber ball and squeeze it for 5 seconds. Don't worry about squeezing hard. Just grip it as comfortably as possible.

If a rubber ball is too hard, try a stress ball.

Repeat this exercise 20 times on your injured hand.

These are all great exercises for rehabbing an injured hand. Because they require no tension or equipment, they can be performed by anyone who is beginning the process. Once the exercises begin to seem easy, add some resistance—a rubber band, a small weight or a ball—to make them more difficult.

Rehabbing your hand is essential for quick healing. Although these exercises may seem easy, make sure you have your doctor's permission before trying any of them.

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