Harvard Women's Health Watch

Workout for aching hands

Stretching, strengthening, and range-of-motion exercises can help relieve pain and prevent injury.

Painful hands can affect everything from the way we work and play to how we communicate and express ourselves. The most common cause of hand pain is arthritis. Another is carpal tunnel syndrome, a nerve impingement in the wrist that may cause numbness and finger weakness. Both of these disorders disproportionately affect women.

The work we do often places stress and strain on the tendons of the wrists and hands. A lot of repetitive stress injury is produced by today's computer-heavy workplace, with its long hours, rapid pace, repeated motions, awkward postures, overly forceful movements, and limited breaks. The hands can be injured especially by sustained gripping of a computer mouse, incorrect keyboard position, and motions such as typing or entering figures on a calculator.

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