Exercises for Osteoarthritic Hands

I’ve written a post on osteoarthritic hands before, so here’s a video of exercises I commonly prescribe to my patients.

You should speak to a health professional before starting these exercises as they may not be appropriate for you. Your osteopath can give a recommendation for how frequently you should perform these, if they agree that they are suitable.

Osteoarthitic Hands vs Other Hand Problems

If you have weakness, stiffness, pain, or reduced grip strength, osteoarthritis may be to blame.

The Exercises

The aim of these exercises is to improve movement within the hand joints. I demonstrate a lot of traction or pulling- this can help you move a bit more with less discomfort.


Focus on the flexion/extension (forward and backward) movement.


For the joint closest to the nail, work as you did for the fingers. For the two joints lower down (one at the visible base of the thumb, and one closer to the wrist) you might benefit from a more circular movement.

Hands and Wrist

Where the bones of the hand are long and straight, movements that encourage sliding between adjacent fingers can be effective.

Further down the hand towards the wrist, the joints are all different shapes. Use a variety of hand holds and play around with traction to find something that feels beneficial.

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