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Hand Exercises After Surgery

What are the 5 exercises to maintain and regain mobility after hand surgery?

Making a Fist

Finger Stretch

Thumb Stretch

Wrist Stretch

Squeezing a ball

Proper hand function is a core requirement of the best functioning in daily life.  Recovering full range of motion after surgery can be difficult. However, you can keep your hand mobility and increase it with the right exercises.  A hand surgeon like Dr. Azouz in Dallas will often recommend an early range of motion exercise program to begin when appropriate after surgery.   Here are the top five exercises for preserving and improving hand mobility after surgery.

Fist exercise for hand surgery

Making a Fist:  This exercise involves making a loose or tight fist and then holding it in place with the opposite hand.  A fist can also be made with or without the thumb to help with tendon gliding.  Repeating the motion will increase flexibility and grip strength.  

Hand surgery exercises.

Finger Stretch: The fingers can be stretched by moving them to a “shelf” or “table” position.  This can then be followed by a “hook” or “claw” position.   Additionally, pushing on a flat service like a table can further stretch the fingers while in these positions.  Claw and tabletop stretches are tendon gliding exercises that help to keep the joints supple and can assist in increasing range of motion.

Thumb exercise for hand surgery.

Thumb Stretch:  Thumb stretches include touching the thumb to each finger.  This is followed by stretching the thumb to reach the palm.  These opposition exercises help to regain dexterity and fine motor movements. 

Wrist exercise for hand surgery

Wrist Stretch: Wrist stretches involve flexing and extending the wrist.  The Wrist is also moved left and right.  Extending the wrist and then making a fist makes flexing and extending the fingers easier.  Wrist stretching is important for all injuries to the hand because the majority of muscles that move the fingers are located in the forearm rather than the hand itself.  Wrist stretches help to regain power, strength, and range of motion in the wrist and hand. 

Squeeze ball exercise

Squeezing a Ball:  Squeezing a soft ball like a tennis ball, racquetball or stress ball can help to improve power and grip strength.  The size of the ball can be gradually increased as hand strength is restored with time, healing, and frequent exercises. 

Start with low resistance and gradually increase as your strength improves. Repeat each exercise several times a day for the best results. With regular exercise and persistence, you can maintain and improve your hand mobility after surgery.

Maintaining hand mobility after surgery is essential to help maintain grip strength, dexterity, and flexibility.  Hand exercises should be done under the supervision of a hand surgeon and/or a hand therapist as serious injury can occur if exercises are done at the wrong time, with inappropriate force, or incorrectly.  Stick to a consistent exercise routine for optimal results.