Physical Therapy Exercises for a Fractured Hand
Many small bones make up the supporting structure for your hands, fingers and wrists. When excessive force is applied to your hand, from a fall for example, the small bones are susceptible to becoming fractured. A hand fracture may cause pain, swelling and decreased ability to use the affected hand. As a result, your doctor may immobilize your hand to allow the bones to heal. Once your fracture is stable, your doctor may recommend a series of exercises to help increase function and reduce stiffness in your hand.
A towel wring exercise helps increase strength and flexibility in your hand following a fracture. To complete this exercise, grape a towel and twist it. Twist the towel forward and backwards, as far as you can go. Keep in mind the act of wringing water out of a towel as you complete this exercise. To make this exercise more difficult, you can wet the towel. A wet towel will add weight, which can help add to the strength of your hands. Complete one set of 10 repetitions of this exercise.
Wrist rolls focus on increasing the range of motion in your hand and wrist as your fracture heals. Place your elbow on a table and hold the affected hand in the air. You should use your healthy hand to stabilize your elbow. Start by making slow circles with your wrist. Make circles going clockwise and counter clockwise. Complete one set of 10 repetitions going in each direction. Once your range of motion begins to improve, increase the difficulty of this exercise by holding a light hand weight as your complete your wrist rolls.
After immobilization, your ability to grasp objects as well as strength in your hand may be lacking. In order to rebuild your gripping strength, set a variety of small objects up on a table in front of you. Practice picking the objects up with your affected hand multiple times per day. You may also use a tennis ball, stress ball, rubber ball or hand grippers to help increase the grasping ability in your affected hand. Place the ball in the palm of your hand and wrap your fingers around it. Squeeze as tightly as possible. Relax and repeat. Complete three sets of 10 repetitions daily.
A prayer stretch helps increase flexibility in your wrist by applying light resistance as you stretch your wrist, hand and forearm, all of which are likely to lose strength and flexibility as the result of a hand fracture. Position your palms together with your fingers fully extended and touching each other, much like the position you would take if you are praying. Hold your elbows up and slowly push your hands against each other. You should feel a stretch in your hands and wrists. Hold this position for a count of five seconds. Relax and repeat. Complete one set of 10 repetitions, three times each day.
Michelle Zehr started writing professionally in 2009. She has written on health, fitness, fashion, interior design, home decorating,sports and finance for several websites. Zehr possesses a Bachelor of Arts in communication from the University of Pittsburgh, a Master of Arts in professional writing from Chatham University and a graduate certificate in health promotion from California University of Pennsylvania.