Developing an effective hand exercise program is a critical task that begins with identifying how a stroke occurs in your brain and how it can affect your hand joints. Stroke is defined as an injury to the brain due to reduced blood flow. A stroke survivor with hand complications mainly experiences an injury to the particular area of the brain which regulates the hand movements. Loss of hand functionality is a very common incident after a stroke. However, every stroke server is different because they face a wide range of complications and a combination of problems depending upon the injury’s location to the brain.
How hand exercises help stroke survivors regain the ability to use their hands
Hand exercise benefits patients in multiple ways. Top benefits are mentioned below:
- Training is particularly designed that contract muscle effectively, which alleviate swelling
- Activate and stimulate the areas of your brain which regulates your hand mobility
- Improve hand strength, fine-motor coordination
- Decrease stiffness and pain of your wrist and fingers by increasing muscle flexibility and blood circulation
Doing hand exercise after stroke helps patients in multiple ways because our brain has the ability to learn and build new connections. Thus, simple Hand stretching or any repetitive workout assists our brain in making new connections; it’ll help your brain adapt to new things and learn. Physiotherapy or occupational therapy is very good for stroke survivors to improve their gripping strength and condition their brain to learn new things.
Where to start the journey
You can start with four basic hand exercises.
These exercises are practical for stroke survivors who do not have:
- Plenty of spasticities
- Flaccidity or restricted ability to move the Hand
- Extremely floppy Hand
For patients with enough spasticity, tightness, and limited range of motion in their hands, different programs are designed to make their rehabilitation more effective.
Let’s start with simple hand stretching
Make a full fist
- Open your fingers completely and then gradually close your finger into your palm
- A full fist improves finger range of motion and reduces swelling
Spread your Fingers
- Spread your fingers as far as possible, then bring them back together again
- It is a great form of stretching that helps to alleviate swelling and inflammation
Bring the thumb to each fingertip.
Bring the tips of your thumb to the tip of your index finger. Make a circle by joining both of your thumb and index finger, then bring your thumb to the middle finger.
- Do this until your thumb touches the mid-points of each finger. If you’re unable to touch each finger, work through it in the direction of the finger, and make the anticipation of touching them.
- This exercise is super effective to boost the range of motion and coordination of four fingers and thumb.
Round your Hand to make a functional "C."
- Try to make a “C” with the thumb and fingers of your Hand, then make it flat again
- To boost the finger motion, visualize you are preparing yourself to pick up one glass of water
- This exercise is excellent for activating cartilage and small muscles of your Hand
Some exercises depend upon stroke survivor’s condition
Exercises when your hands start to regain their control
It is a very positive sign for stroke survivors who lost their hand strength, but it is equally frustrating because their fingers start wiggling but are difficult to hold any objects. In this condition, patients should begin exercises slowly. Forearm muscles and brain cells may get tired quickly in this phase
Let’s get started,
- First, do the above -mentioned four exercises for essential warm-up of finger joints and wrist joints. Try to do each exercise with your affected hand, even if you cannot match the range of motion perfectly.
- Then pick a medium-sized object with not much weight, you can pick up a foam cube or a stress ball.
- Practice picking up it
- Then wrap your fingers around the plastic cup. Then release it gradually by putting it down.
- Next, you can fold a washcloth using both of your hands.
- You can squeeze and roll the putty with your affected Hand.
Then Spread out the putty by pushing it with your fingers.