Hand Therapy for Strokes

A stroke occurs when something (like a blood clot or plaque) blocks blood supply to the brain or when a blood vessel in the brain bursts. According to the CDC, over 795,000 people in the United States had a stroke in 2017 killing about 140,000 people every year.

Brain damage from a stroke can cause mobility issues in stroke survivors.  Symptoms are often weakness or paralysis on one side of the body. Exercise is a major component of rehabilitation after a stroke.

FlintRehab has several great blogs on hand exercises after a stroke. PT-Helper has many of these exercises within our Finger and Hand exercise library to help you complete your rehabilitation at home. Some of these exercises are shown below:

  • Wrist Flexion Extension : Place your affected forearm on a table with your hand hanging off the edge of the table, palm down. Flex at your wrist to move your and up. Then move your hand down. Repeat.
  • Assisted Palm Up Palm Down : Place your affected hand palm down on a table. Use your finger on your other hand to help flip your hand into the palm up position. Use your finger on your other hand to help return your hand to the palm down position. Repeat.
  • Rolling Movement : Place your affected hand in front of you or on top of a table with a bottle in your hand. Curl your fingers in to grasp the bottle. Relax your fingers and straighten them. Repeat.

In addition to hand exercises, upper body cycling is also recommended to increase endurance and range of motion on the affected side. PT-Helper has partnered with Excy, a portable hand and pedal exercise equipment, to include their exercises within our library. The Excy hand cycle can even be used on the bed to start your recovery process.

  • Excy Hand Cycle on Bed/Floor – Forward Circles : Sit down on the floor or in a bed. Consider placing a pillow under your knees for better ergonomic positioning. To begin cranking, place one crank arm in the top furthest position away from the body (between 2 and 3 o’clock). Place your hand on the pedal and make sure you have 5-10 degree bend at elbow. As your right hand pushes forward and down, your left hand circles backward and up to complete the rotation of the pedals.

Reminder: Please consult your physician or physical therapist before engaging in any physical activity and stop if you experience pain or discomfort.

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