The hands are used extensively throughout the day, and hand injuries are a common problem. Overuse injuries from activities such as writing, typing, or holding phones are very common in the arm and hands. The hands and forearms can be injured in single traumatic events as well, such as from holding the steering wheel during an auto accident.
Many of the tasks we use our hands for require quite a bit of exertion. The hands are also needed to perform fine motions. While there are muscles in the hands, there is not a lot of space available to accommodate larger muscles that are necessary for exerting larger force. Many of the muscles that contribute to the movements of the hands and fingers are actually in the forearm. These muscles in the forearms have long tendons that pass into the hand and fingers, allowing for a larger muscle with more strength while minimizing space taken in the hands.
Hand exercises are an important part of recovering from a hand or forearm injury. Hand exercises and stretches help reduce pain, improve muscle function, strengthen muscles, and relax muscles.
Stress balls can be used to help strengthen the muscles of the hands. A variety of hand grip exercises can be performed using these stress balls. Bands for the fingers can be used to strengthen the muscles of the fingers and hands in the extension direction.
Stretches are important for prevention of hand injuries as well as recovery from injuries. One stretch for the forearm and wrist can be performed by holding your arm outstretched and extending the wrist. This position allows the wrist and hand flexors to be stretched. The reverse position, with the arm held outward and the wrist flexed allows for flexing the wrist and hand extensors.
Sometimes when performing this stretch for the wrist and forearm muscles with your arm placed straight in front of your body, the wrist may move to the point where the full range of motion is reached and the ligaments of the wrist are stretched before a stretch is felt on the muscles of the forearm. This situation can irritate the bones and joints of the wrist and is not ideal. The arms can be moved behind the back to increase tension on the muscles of the forearm. This allows for stretching the muscles of the forearm while minimizing movement at the wrist.
Your Chiropractor will be able to advise and instruct you on exercises that are beneficial for the wrist and hand. Contact your Chiropractor if you have been involved in an auto accident or have injured your wrist or hand.