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Exercises for grip/hand clumsiness?

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    Exercises for grip/hand clumsiness?

    I get episodes of hemiparesis and have pyramidal tract signs. During the time my grip/fingers/hand/arm are weak and slow moving, if I overuse them, I end up hurt. My first episode of this I messed up my rotator cuff by using my shoulder for strength to back up lack of hand strength.

    This time around I keep narrowly dodging what I think is cubital tunnel syndrom (based on where the pain is located occasionally, and once again, HOW I'm trying to support the weakened muscles).

    My questions are:

    1. How can I tell when I'm beyond the "acute" stage and ready for physio? The first time around I did get my grip back; the pain remaining was due to injury. This time, my grip is not getting better. I can't tell if it's because I'm still in a flare, or that's now my normal. I'm trying to do some hand exercises, but they are minimal and my hand goes numb/fingers ache. Plus I don't know which exercises would be the best.

    2. How do I keep from injuring other things when in a flare? I've learned that the more I use that side, the more I have secondary pain. With this flare, as soon as I stopped tracking straight on the treadmill, I shut down exercise. I had no knee pain/hip at all during the flare -- and I should be able to start up again at the gym shortly. (Last time it took six weeks of physio to fix my knee .. sigh.)

    BUT I can't not use my hand ... even things like flossing teeth, I have to wrap the floss around my whole hand. Typing -- my mistakes are all that the left hand letters get typed first.

    3. Can you recommend a website specific to this problem? I've almost used up my physio coverage for this calendar year and haven't been working, so paying out-of-pocket is not an option.

    Thank you so much for any ideas. Of course, it's my dominant hand, and for this first time during this flare I also had a 24 period of time where my left hand was clumsy at the same time. Help.

    I'm sorry to hear about these problems you are experiencing. Here are some suggestions:

    Try to rest hand(s) as much as possible. The muscles in hand & fingers fatigue just as other muscles.
    Hold objects with a bigger grip- may need to add foam or rubber grips. The smaller/narrower the item the harder it is to hold.
    Take several breaks when typing.
    If grabbing to hold, use more of the palm of the hand.
    Heat & cold can help with discomfort. Choose which one is best for you. You can alternate as well.
    Look into splints. Very helpful for positioning and rest, especially during night.
    Minimize resistant exercises for now. Work on range of motion (make fist, slowly open fingers; touch each finger one at a time to thumb). Make sure you an straighten each finger. If you have to assist with other hand, do so. Do range of motion in warm water, it's often more comfortable and can assist with stretches.
    The more you can do the range of motion, increase the speed of movement Again, hold off from resistance until the hand is more comfortable. You can squeeze sponges in water, it gives a good mild resistance.

    There are adaptive devices/tools to help. There is floss on a stick, wide grip toothbrushes, utensils. There are many assistive devices that take the work load off your hands. It's important to reduce the stress and protect your joints.
    This link is for people with arthritis - it provides excellent assistive devices for the hand

    If you use a walker or cane, make sure you build up the handles with washcloths or foam grips.

    Where you referring to carpal tunnel syndrome? Where you treated for that before?

    Issues with the hand can come from the neck. Pay attention to neck motions to see if you get more tingling or numbness.

    No one knows how long flares will last. Each episode is different than the other.

    Have you talked with your doctor? It is very important that you keep doctor informed with your situation. Some medication can assist with sensory/pain issues.

    Keep us posted.
    Be Well,


      Thank you SO much for your reply Susan. For some reason I never saw it when you originally posted.

      I had the issues for about six weeks, then things slowly improved. I did mean cubital tunnel -- ulnar nerve trouble. I had trouble with my trapezius muscle? shoulder drop and it put pressure on the ulnar nerve? Think that's what my physiotherapist said. This time around my hand didn't reach previous normal strength.

      Had another bout of r.s. weakness in December but really mild this time, just fingers/grip and very little arm involvement. Could write if I altered pencil grip/could type (but lots of slow right hand typos).

      How do splints help? I'm wondering if that's something I should look into ... if this were to continue.

      Again, thank you so much. I'm printing out your info for the next time (and hoping I won't need it ... ).


        Hand Weakness

        Hi Susan - I've had left sided weakness for some time. I n Sueed the leg problem long before discovering the problem also existed in my left arm -- probably because I'm right handed. I'm getting weaker and less coordinated with my hands, but not to the point of needing special equipment yet. Could you suggest a few exercises or websites, etc. to use to keep my muscles as strong as possible. Thanks. Sue


          Possible help for hand weakness/fatigue

          Just to update -- I have permanent right hand weakness now. Doing Physio but so far don't see an improvement. My biggest issue is writing -- I have to document in handwriting with respect to my career. It got to the point where I couldn't read my own handwriting, and was choosing not to document things that should have been (court admissible information).

          I recently had an OT consult and she gave me a foam tube. Pen slips inside. It makes a huge difference to my writing -- it's more legible for much longer -- my hand doesn't fatigue nearly as quickly.

          Just an idea for anyone else out there struggling. Oh yes you can put a toothbrush or a fork in there as well-- alas, not chopsticks .