I was thinking about what exercises I could do to take the stiffness out of my feet and hands and improve strength and flexibility. I can't exercise most of the rest of my body because of my back but I'm conscious of how stiff and sore these bits are getting for no reason except lack of use ( at least I hope its not arthritis creeping up) .

I know a few but could do with some ideas. Its something most of us could do even with chronic pain. I know some people will have problems with their feet or hands but quite often those bits are spared.

How about those who can trying it and sharing whether it makes a difference. Vive la extremities !


(Manic morning)

14 Replies

  • Hi Dee - I have the same problem with my extremities so I know exactly what you mean. While most of my pain stems from bigger joints - neck, shoulders, spine, knees and ankles - my feet have been painful for a while and my hands are going the same way.

    I've been going to a clinical pilates class for a while - run by a physio - and that's been really helpful in terms of strengthening and stretching. For hands, simply waving your fingers around and clenching and unclenching a fist is good (looks a bit odd if you do it in public though - lol!). For feet, I rotate my ankles, flex my feet back and forwards, and my particular favourite is to roll a tennis ball under my foot.

    You're right, it's very easy to forget those small bones/joints/muscles when you have pain in bigger areas too - but they're very important bits to concentrate on too.

  • Thanks . I'd forgotten the foot massage. I've got a Pilate's spikey ball for that very thing. I know its somewhere.

  • I find the spiky ball too painful for my feet - I think that's probably because my feet are over-sensitised with the fibromyalgia. A fluffy tennis ball works best for me! It's quite relaxing too.

    Another one that's good for hands is to "walk" them up the wall in front of you. It's good for shoulders too. But I can't get my shoulders very high so I do struggle a bit with that one.

  • Just recovering from using the massage ball. Duh ! Stupid me forgot that this kind of thing uses the hips as well. Agony in my hips and buttocks that night and the next day. My sacrioilic joints are disfunctional ! I can't walk without pain or do any exercise (including buttock clenching) even of the mildess form. Everyone who's looked at me agrees that there is nothing wrong with the way I move its just a problem with those joints. I'm hoping for an operation next year that might give me a bit of pain relief.

    So feet stuff sitting down.

  • Oh dear. Sorry to hear that. I only use the ball under my feet when sitting down, but yes it does use the hips a bit too. Hope your pain subsides soon. All these exercises need to be done very gently - but it's really easy to forget and get carried away, and then regret it later. :-(

  • dance for your feet , get a wee ball for your ,hands

  • Dancing is out for me I'm very sorry to say.

  • There's the toe lifting. Place foot flat on the floor. Lift big toe without moving other toes. Then leave big toe down and lift the rest. Then the Mexican wave - lift toes separately starting with big toe. If you find it difficult use a finger initially to hold down toes. Its a matter of training the brain as well as the feet. Keep practising as its very good for foot health.


  • Chinese reflexology. Omg. Delicious and you feel like you're walking on air for days after. They move all the joints passively for you and really get their hands in there. It's not like the reflexology we know it's more deeply mobilising massage.

  • Look at the "Back to Action" exercise programme on the National Ankylosing Spondylitis Society website - its a broad programme of gentle stretching for people with spondyloarthritis, so is safe to do if you have a very stiff back. Its really just about doing what you can to move your whole body through the maximum range of movement possible without straining anywhere. I cant do all the exercises, but I do what I can, and my back is incredibly stiff and sore. For hands, occupational therapists can be really useful - they can show you ways to keep using your hands more effectively. If you can find somewhere with a hydrotherapy pool, then having a programme of hydrotherapy exercises is much better, and less stress on your body, than swimming in a regular pool. There are also modified versions of Tai Chi (for arthritis), chair yoga, and pilates, all designed for people who are physically limited.

  • Earthwitch I'll look into that programme thanks.

    Even sitting Tai Chi is not for me. Tai Chi is mostly about rotation which includes the trunk. I did a lot of Tai Chi. "Before". I tried to work with my teacher to find stuff I could do but even the sitting forms are too painful.

    I've tried the hypnotherapy pool. I'd recommend it to anyone but not for me. Moving through the water resistance hurts my back and SI joints far too much.

    I've got lots here to look into and try though and I'm working on my shoulders and neck as well.


  • I've looked at the website. There's some exercises there that I'd forgotten and that I think I could do. Thanks. Its good to get new ideas.

  • Exercise can be of two types. An exercise to get the heart rate up or an exercise to get the proprioceptors switched on again.

    An exercise to get the proprioceptors switched on again very good for joints which have suddenly decided to get stiff. I will describe the hand exercise you can modify this for any part of the body. The exercise can be mentally strenuous. Consider the finger joints of the hand. Concentrate on moving each joint back and forth with barely any movement. The less movement the better. Do this for about 5 minutes. Do a similar movement for the wrist. You do not want to apply any pressure on the joints. This exercise can warm cold hands very quickly.

    Let me know what you find.

  • I'm going to try this one John. Thanks

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