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Physical Therapy Exercises After Hand Surgery

author image Julie Saccone
Julie Saccone is a senior communications specialist and former journalist who began writing in 2003. She works in the health-care industry distilling research findings and complex medical topics for media and trade publications. Saccone has been published in newspapers including the "National Post" and "StarPhoenix." She holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from Ryerson University and an honors Bachelor of Science.
Physical Therapy Exercises After Hand Surgery
Hand exercises after surgery help restore flexibility and muscle strength.

Strengthening your hand and restoring your range of motion is an important part of rehabilitation after hand surgery. By performing simple hand exercises that focus on strengthening and stretching your muscles, you can improve the flexibility of your fingers and hands. Always consult a doctor before beginning any exercises.

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Tight Fist

Make a tight fist with one hand. Bend your fingers as much as possible and place your thumb around the outside of your fingers. Hold the position for several seconds, then straighten and spread your fingers as far apart as possible. Alternatively, try the exercise by crumbling up a piece of paper or gripping a ball in the palm of your hand to increase resistance.

Finger Bend

This exercise helps improve muscle strength and range of motion. Keeping your fingers straight, gently bend your fingers at the knuckles as far as possible. Straighten your fingers and repeat. Perform 50 repetitions of the exercise each hour you are awake, recommends Cedar Valley Hand Surgery.

Finger to Finger

With your fingers and thumb relaxed, form an “O” by touching your thumb to index finger. Straighten your fingers and with your thumb, touch your middle finger. Straighten and repeat for each finger. Perform this exercise several times each day.

Thumb Bend

With your fingers and thumb straightened and close together, slowly bend your thumb in the direction of your pinky finger. Cross the palm of your hand and touch the base of the finger. If you have trouble extending your thumb that far, simply stretch your finger as far as possible.

Finger Tap

With your palm facing down, place your hand on a flat surface. Start by raising your thumb. Lower your thumb and then raise your index finger. Lower the index finger and repeat the exercise for each finger on your hand.

Wrist Stretch

Using one hand, support your forearm. Move your wrist forward as far as you can and then backward as far as you can. Repeat the exercise 10 times to stretch your wrist.

Forearm Rotation

Bend your arm and hold your elbow close to your side. Straighten your hand and fingers, keeping them close together. With your palms facing down, rotate your hand until your palms are facing upward. Then rotate your hand back toward the floor. Repeat the exercise to help strengthen your hands and wrists.

Expert Advice

Speak to your doctor before performing any exercises to treat your condition. If you exercise and feel pain, stop immediately and advise your doctor. Begin the exercises gradually and increase the resistance of the exercises as your muscles become stronger. To reduce swelling post surgery, which can make exercise difficult, elevate your hand above your heart using a pillow at night or a sling during the day.

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