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Exercises to help strengthen joints

Exercise is important to maintain a healthy balanced lifestyle.

Not only will it help you maintain a healthy weight to ease the load on your joints and improve your cardiovascular health, it can help maintain bone strength and build the muscles around your joints.

It can also help reduce the effects of stress and benefit your mental health and aid in a better nights sleep.

There are many forms of exercise and you will find what you enjoy, however some activities can cause stress for the joints such as running and jumping so should be done in moderation alongside other low impact activities.

- Aerobic or low impact exercises
- Walking
- Swimming
- Cycling
- Elliptical machine
- Pilates

These types of exercises are beneficial as they can help you maintain a healthy weight which in turn reduces pressure on the joints and provide you with more energy throughout the day.

They can also improve your cardiovascular health and mental health. It is recommended to do 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercises every week.

That could be a 10 minute walk on your lunch break or a quick pilates workout in front of your TV before bed.

Low impact exercises are particularly helpful if you are suffering with arthritis or pre existing issues with your joints.

Other low impact activities

Other exercise which will benefit the joints are improving your balance by strengthening the muscles around the joints. This can be done by lifting hand weights or balancing on one leg.

Gardening, and sweeping and other household chores can also benefit the joints as you are walking and moving your body gently.

Always remember to never push through exercise if it is causing you pain. Take it slowly and gently and if pain persists it may be worth seeking professional help.

Hand and wrist exercises

Just as we exercise our legs and arms, we should exercise the muscles in our hands and wrists.

Start off with 2 to 3 repetitions of the exercise at a time, so as not to overdo it initially, and as things get easier add 1 or 2 repetitions to your movements every few days.

Finger stretching

Begin with the palm of your hand on a table, fingers apart. Pull your fingers together by pressing your hand down on the table and squeezing your fingers together and then stretching them apart.

Thumb stretch

Hold your hand out in front of you, as if you're saying stop. Begin with your thumb positioned outward. Move the thumb across your palm and then back to the starting position.

Wrist turn

Bend your elbow to 90 degrees with your palm facing down. Rotate your forearm, so that your palm faces up and then down. You can stand or sit to do this.

Hand lift

Place your forearm on a flat surface, like a table, with your hand hanging over the edge, palm facing down.

A rolled-up towel under your wrist might provide comfort. Keeping your fingers relaxed, move your hand upward until you feel a gentle stretch, then return to the starting position.

When doing any exercise you should listen to your pain levels, and take a break if you are experiencing discomfort.

Post operative exercise will be discussed and set by your hand surgeon and physiotherapist, tailored to you and your individual needs.


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