The 6 Best Exercise Equipment for Hand Arthritis of 2022

Take care of yourself and your arthritis, the right way

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The most common knee-jerk reaction to pain and discomfort is to stop moving and rest the injured area as much as possible. But when it comes to chronic diseases, such as arthritis of the hand and rheumatoid arthritis, the worst thing you can do is not move, says Lisa Folden, Licensed Physical Therapist and owner of Healthy Pit Physical Therapy & Wellness Consultants in Charlotte, North Carolina. 

Arthritis of the hand
is associated with deep, achy pain, along with swelling, stiffness, decreased range of motion, and decreased grip strength. Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune, inflammatory type of arthritis usually associated with ulnar drift and hand deformity. 

The best thing you can do is actually move your hands, stretch them out on a daily basis,” explains Dr. Folden. “You don’t have to wait for pain to improve the mobility and strength of your hand, and its joints and muscles.” Arthritis comes with a lot of inflammation and discomfort in the joints, so those experiencing it will want to move as much as possible to maintain joint flexibility and function, as well as healthy synovial fluid advises Dr. Folden. Synovial fluid helps to cushion and lubricate the joints, making movement more comfortable. 

Keep in mind that repetitive motions/overuse can worsen arthritis. Additionally, an inflamed joint (such as a joint with active RA) should not be vigorously exercised, as it can lead to joint damage.

At some point, many people develop some level of arthritis due a lifetime of activity and the natural breakdown of tissues, reveals Dr. Folden. The first step once noticing pain and discomfort reminiscent of arthritis in the hand is to go see your doctor, who will hopefully not just prescribe pain medication, but send you to “physical or occupational therapy to get to the root of the issue and give you more tools to help you manage.”

The usual evaluation test takes about an hour and involves testing for range of motion, strength, and pain. After the evaluation, Dr. Folden gives patients home exercises to work on every day and has them follow up with therapy sessions. Here are some exercise equipment options that someone suffering from arthritis may come across during physical therapy or utilize at home while trying to regain strength.

Our Top Picks
Ideal for daily exercises, this workout kit accommodates various strength levels and treats both arthritis and hand injuries.
Equipped with three resistance levels, this hand grip strengthens both the fingers and wrist.
Serenilite’s Stress Ball combines improving your physical and mental health, from reducing pain to enhancing focus.
An upgrade on the play putty of your childhood, Vive Therapy’s putty is color coded by resistance level so you can improve your fine motor skills.
FlexEx Sport's hand exerciser allows you to exercise all fingers simultaneously or one at a time.
Complete with three colors based on resistance, these stress balls promise relief from arthritis or a long day on the computer.

Best Overall: GRM Hand Grip Strengthener

GRM Hand Grip Strengthener

When it comes to arthritis, patients often deal with issues of strength deficits due to a lack of movement, explains Dr. Folden. That’s why many physical therapists work toward specifically improving grip strength, which is the force applied by the hand to pull on or suspend from objects. This GRM kit is perfect for daily exercises and helps support joint health in people with hand injuries, arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, tendonitis, carpal tunnel syndrome, tennis elbow, and more. 

It comes with an adjustable grip strength trainer that allows for up to 132 pounds in resistance and has an intelligent counting grip, a finger exerciser, a hand grip resistance ring, finger exerciser, stress relief grip ball, and a finger grip stretcher. Everything you need to zoom focus on your grip is in this kit. 

Best Budget: Pnrskter Hand Grip Strengthener

Pnrskter Hand Grip Strengthener

This combo of hand grips and finger strengtheners is ideal for anyone suffering from hand arthritis and looking to tone and strengthen muscles around the hand. People have a tendency to overuse their gripping muscle while neglecting their expanding muscles. The finger strengthener allows you to open those muscles by concentrating stretching the fingers. On the other end, the hand grip comes in three resistance levels to accommodate the current strength of your hand. Both equipment tools are easy to clean with just some soaps and water, and are ready to use regularly.

Best Ball: Serenilite Hand Therapy Stress Ball

Serenilite Hand Therapy Stress Ball

This high quality therapy ball is known to hold well under pressure and commonly used in hand and dexterity therapy. Made from non-stick fabric with a tear-resistant gel core, it fits comfortably in your hand when working to reduce arthritis symptoms. It also doesn’t hurt that it puts in double the work by helping to relieve any physical or mental stress in the body. At 2.25 in x 5.1 cm, Serenilite’s stress ball is perfect for accompanying you anywhere you go, whether that’s to work or to physical therapy.

Best Putty: Vive Therapy Putty 4 Pack

Vive Therapy Putty 4 Pack

Therapy putty allows your inner child to play while also forcing you to use your hands full range of motion. Dr. Folden uses therapy putty with patients by having them “dig into the putty to work on their finger extensions or bare dexterity and making them find things like beads, pebbles, or pennies.” Vive Therapy Putty is color-coded by level of resistance, which ranges from soft to firm, so that people can gradually increase their hand and grip strength based on what they feel they can handle that day. 

The putty comes in four, three-ounce containers and is odorless, non-toxic, latex free. This silicone-based putty will last without graining, so stretch, squeeze, and poke it all you want. Your hands will thank you later. 

Best for Thumb: FlexEx Sport Patented Hand Exerciser

FlexEx Sport Patented Hand Exerciser

Think of this FlexEx Hand Exerciser as a glorified rubber band of sorts. It’s nothing too fancy, but like regular rubber bands, it proves to be an essential asset in therapy. Pain in finger joints is a common symptom of arthritis and can make it hard to grip objects, especially small ones. Exercises that incorporate rubber bands help work on finger extensions and hand strength by utilizing all the muscles in the forearm and upper arm, explains Dr. Folden. 

Best for Wrist Strength: Peradix Hand Grip Strength Trainer

Peradix Hand Grip Strength Trainer

Although the Peradix Hand Grip Strength Trainer is still a type of stress ball, its ergonomic design helps to fit it perfectly to your hand and more effectively train all your fingers. The shape of these colorful trainers, which coordinate with resistance progression from 15kg to 25kg to 30kg, allow to more easily isolate areas of your hand and give more attention to your wrist. 

Final Verdict

The GRM Hand Grip Strengthener Counting Forearm Trainer Workout Kit is the best way to get all the essential exercise tools for hand arthritis you need all in one at a great price. For a fun twist on arthritis therapy, Vive Therapy Putty will let your inner child play while still effectively working those hand muscles.

What to Look for In Exercise Equipment for Hand Arthritis

Comfort: Struggling with arthritis is uncomfortable enough, there’s no need to add more discomfort to the situation by buying exercise equipment without proper cushioning. Whether it’s a hand grip exerciser or stress ball, make sure ease of comfort is one of its top descriptors. 

Travel: One of the best things about hand exercises and equipment for arthritis is that they’re created with casual activity in mind, meaning you can utilize them while working at your desk or sitting in the passenger seat on a road trip. That’s why you want to make sure your equipment can easily fit into your purse or backpack, to go wherever you go.

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Having been raised by two medical professionals, Amari Pollard understands the importance of health literacy. As a seasoned health writer, she is committed to producing well-researched and well-sourced product reviews to help people make informed medical decisions.

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  • The Importance of Grip Strength. APECS. Jason Shea.