As the weather gets colder, it is not unusual for the joints in our fingers, hands and wrists to feel stiff and sore. Arthritic conditions, old sporting injuries and general wear and tear can mean the structures surrounding our joints don’t work as well and there can be pain and stiffness with movement. Daily activities requiring fine motor skills, such as turning a key or doing up buttons, may become harder to complete as well as activities that require prolonged gripping, such as pruning the roses.

Here are my top three tips as the wether gets colder to assist with pain and stiffness in the hands.

HEAT
Applying heat, such as a wheat bag, heating pad or water bottle to stiff, painful joints may help relieve these symptoms and make movement easier. Try applying heat to the painful area for 15 minutes and repeat whenever you need to throughout the day. Another strategy is soaking the hands daily in warm water for approximately 10 minutes, whilst gently squeezing a sponge or face washer. This can help to get stiff fingers moving and manage the pain. If completed in the morning it can assist with movement throughout the entire day.
Osteohealth has a paraffin wax bath that is one of the most effective methods of applying deep heat to the hand to relieve pain and stiffness. Warm paraffin wax treatments are fast-acting to soothe joint pain, relax stiff muscles, increase range of motion and warm cold hands, especially in Winter!
MOVEMENT
Mobility exercises are especially important for stiff joints, muscles and soft tissue structures. Specific hand exercises will maintain or improve the range of movement and make completing daily activities easier. It is important that exercises are aimed at increasing flexibility and do not overload a stiff, painful joint. Gentle strengthening of some specific muscles, tendons and ligaments in the hand also assists in supporting the joints, decreasing pain and increasing movement.
JOINT PROTECTION
Become aware of how you are using your sore joints. Is there another way of doing an activity which will reduce those aches and strains? Using larger, stronger joints, for example carrying your shopping bags over your shoulder rather than in your hands, reduces the strain on stiff, sore hand joints. Think about spreading the load over a number of joints by carrying things in two hands. Avoid gripping things too tightly, there are many gadgets that make gripping and holding objects easier. These are examples of joint protection. It doesn’t mean you should stop using your joints. It just means that you should use them differently to reduce the amount of stress going through your joints.
If you are having trouble with stiff, sore hand joints or would like to try out the paraffin wax, contact Osteohealth for and appointment with Marnie today!
-Marnie Lowry