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Your knuckles are the small joints in your fingers that allow you to grasp and hold objects. Weak and sore knuckles are common among people with arthritis, a degenerative and chronic joint disease. Pain and inflammation, as well as swelling, around the knuckles can severely hamper your ability to perform tasks that call for fine motor skills. Hand exercises can strengthen your knuckles by eliminating pain and giving your hand muscles more support.
Strengthen your grip with a stress ball, a device about the size of a tennis ball. Hold the firm, yet squishy ball in the palm of your hand and make a fist around it. Squeeze as hard as you can without pain. Hold the position for a few seconds before releasing. The tensing and relaxing of your hand strengthens your muscles to support and give more power to your knuckles. Perform up to 10 repetitions or do these exercises throughout the day as needed to reduce stress and relieve knuckle pain.
Do knuckle bends to maintain range of motion in your finger joints. According to "Harvard Health Newsletters," stretching to improve range of motion gives your joints more power, endurance and strength. Hold your hand up, palm facing out, with fingers straight. Bend the first two knuckles of your fingers down so that the tips of your fingers touch the upper part of your palm. Keep the position for several seconds, then straighten your fingers. Repeat the knuckle bend several times with each hand.
Perform thumb stabilization exercises. This stretch improves gripping strength, a main use for your knuckles. Begin with your hand in an upright, fingers-straight position. Form the letter C with your fingers and thumb. Hold for two seconds before returning to the upright position. Complete up to 10 repetitions with each hand.
Increase strength and range of motion in your large thumb knuckle. This joint, at the base of your thumb, is constantly in use when you hold objects. Stretch and strengthen with finger stretches. Keeping your fingers straight, stretch your thumb until it touches your palm nearest your pinky. Repeat the stretch 10 times.
- All hand exercises should feature slow and smooth movements to improve joint flexibility and strength. The movements should not induce pain. Speak to your doctor if your knuckles ache during hand exercises.