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Elbow, wrist and hand

Wrist and hand rehabilitation

Because the function of the wrist and hand is essential to daily activities, special care is needed to avoid compromising the functional integrity of these structures. In addition to range-of-motion and strengthening exercises, attention should be paid to dexterity exercises and to tactile senses. The wrist and hand are a series of complex joints which work together to give great mobility and range of function.

Immobilization can result in joint contractures and stiffness, therefore active range-of-motion exercises should begin as soon as safely possible. A thorough understanding of the action of the hand musculature is necessary to isolate joint movement. Mobility of the metacarpal bones should be checked manually by the therapist. The elbow and forearm should be stabilized for rehabilitative exercises to minimize compensatory movements.

Range-of-motion exercises

Elbow flexion and extension

Standing with your arms down at your side, slowly bend and straighten your elbow as far as possible. Hold each position 5 seconds, repeat 10 times.

Wrist flexion and extension

Resting your forearm on a table, with your hand over the edge, palm facing upwards, slowly curl your wrist up and down as far as possible. Be sure not to lift the forearm off the table. Hold each position 5 seconds,repeat 10 times.

Wrist pronation and supination

Rest your forearm on a table, with your hand over the edge. Begin with the palm facing upwards, then rotate your hand all the way outwards (supination) and all the way inwards (pronation). Hold each position 5 seconds, repeat 10 times.

Wrist radial and ulnar deviation

Resting your forearm and hand on a table, palm facing downwards, move your hand from side to side,keeping it flat on the table. Hold each position 5 seconds, repeat 10 times.

Hand and finger strengthening

Elastic band exercise

Hold your fingertips together and put an elastic band around them. Spread your fingers out against the resistance of the band.

Ball squeeze

Hold a tennis ball or racket ball in your hand and squeeze it repeatedly at a rapid pace.

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