Hand and Finger Exercises

These common hand and finger exercises are typically recommended by a hand therapist or a hand surgeon. They may be helpful in recovering after surgery, to relieve pain or to regain mobility. These helpful videos can serve as a guide as you work through your exercises; however, please consult your hand therapist or hand surgeon before performing any of these exercises. Your provider(s) should also specify the number of sets and reps necessary, as well as how many times per day you should complete these exercises.

Differential Tendon Gliding

  1. Begin with your wrist supported and your fingers straight.
  2. Bend your bottom knuckles so your fingers are in a table top position. Return to straight.
  3. Bend your top two knuckles, trying to touch the top of the finger to the bottom. Return to straight.
  4. Make a loose fist, keeping your thumb out to the side. Return straight.
  5. Bend your bottom two knuckles, trying to reach for your palm.

Reverse Blocking

  1. Begin with the elbow supported.
  2. Keeping your involved hand relaxed, use your other hand to gently bend the bottom joints of your fingers (MP joints) to 90 degrees, if able.
  3. Maintaining this position, straighten the middle and end joints of all of your fingers. Hold for 10 seconds, then relax your fingers to your palm.

Make sure to keep your wrist straight during the exercise and maintain the bottom joints (MP) in flexion.


DIP Joint Blocking

  1. Begin by supporting your involved hand with the palm up. Use your other hand to support your involved finger just below the end joint.
  2. Bend and straighten the end joint, holding each position 3-5 seconds.

Support the middle joint only enough so that is does not bend. It is okay if the other fingers move during this exercise.


PIP Joint Blocking

  1. Begin by supporting your involved hand with the palm up. Use your other hand to support your involved finger just below the second joint, supporting over the last finger segment. The bottom (MP) joint should be straight.
  2. Bend and straighten your finger at the middle joint only. Hold position for 3-5 seconds and then return straight.

The end joint may also bend during the exercise. It is okay if the other fingers move as well.


Wrist Flexion and Extension

  1. Begin by supporting the involved forearm with your opposite hand.
  2. Keep your fingers relaxed in a light fist, and slowly bend your wrist back and forth.

Your fingers should be relaxed through the movement.


Wrist Radial and Ulnar Deviation

  1. Begin by supporting your forearm with the opposite wrist. Your fingers should be relaxed and your wrist in a straight position.
  2. Slowly bend your wrist from side to side, keeping your hand flat.

Try to keep your forearm stable while you move your wrist.


Wrist Circumduction - Alphabet Writing

  1. Begin by supporting your forearm with your opposite hand just below your wrist. You can rest your elbow on the table for added support.
  2. Keeping your fingers in a loose fist, practice writing the capital letters of the alphabet in the air, with the movement coming from your wrist.
  3. As the movement becomes easier, make the letters smaller and more precise.

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