A variety of problems can cause hand stiffness, limiting the use and function that we often take for granted. Stiffness can occur when there are problems within and around the structures of a joint, including ligaments and muscles. Commonly, tight sore hands are caused by repetitive motion and overuse when performing tasks such as typing, clicking a mouse, or writing.

“Most of the hand muscles actually extend all the way through the forearms, attaching to the elbows,” says Meredith Butulis, DPT, an instructor with Life Time Academy in Chanhassen, MN. Mobilizing the forearms will relieve tension through the wrists, palms, and fingers.

If little is done to alleviate the hands or forearms, then repeating the same motion day after day could lead to other problems in the future, such as sprains, tendonitis and arthritis. Acupuncture is an excellent way to relieve pain and tightness in the hands, but it also requires daily attention on the part of person experiencing symptoms. These include frequent breaks, changing the motion or hand that is in pain and using alternative mouse devices. Stretching the hand and forearm can also be helpful, bringing circulation to tendons. These stretches should be done throughout the day, 30 seconds per arm.

Stretch 1
• Stretch one arm in front of you.
• Grasp the outstretched palm and pull towards you until you feel moderate pressure.
• Repeat with palm facing toward you, pulling on the back of your hand.

Stretch 2
• Stretch one arm in front of you like in stretch 1.
• Drop the fingers towards the ground and push the back of your hand towards you with gentle pressure.

Stretch/Massage 3
• Rest one arm on a sturdy surface, palm down.
• Using a small ball, find a spot that’s tender or tense; apply pressure.
• Then flip your arm, palm up, and roll the ball along the length of your forearm.