Repetitive use hand and finger injuries are on the rise, according to licensed, practicing hand and orthopedic surgeons in Tucson, Arizona, Dr. William Smith, M.D. at the Southwest Hand Center, and Dr. Joseph Sheppard, M.D. at University Physicians Health Center, both seen in 2009 by Featured AC Health Writer, Lynn Pritchett. It’s no wonder, considering Americans’ jobs and hobbies growing dependence on computers, cell phones, Twitter™, mp3 players (iPod®, Zune®, etc), and gaming devices (Wii™, PlayStation®, etc).
The Six Pack is an easy way to keep hands and fingers stretched and flexible. Six Pack hands can be done anytime, anywhere, and should not be confused with picking up a six-pack of your favorite brew at the corner store.
It was recommended by Licensed, Registered Occupational Therapists/Certified Hand Therapist (OTR,L/CHT) Cherí Miller-Gray of Tucson, Arizona to Lynn Pritchett to help with a severe arthritis hand event, and it continues to be an easy and effective everyday hand health maintenance routine.
Six Pack Hand Exercise
Start each of the Six Pack exercises in this position (pictured). Point the hand and 4 fingers straight upright and close together at attention, with the thumb out a v-angle or arrow-like position.
From the Arrow position, bring the 4 fingers down straight to a flat, tabletop-like position and hold for a count of 3. Repeat up to the Arrow and back down to the Tabletop in slow, controlled movements three times. Keep the thump out straight at the v-angle.
From the Arrow position, bring the 4 fingers into a claw-like curl only bending the top 2/3 of the fingers. The first few times, you may have to hold the lowest knuckles straight. Keep in mind you are making a claw, not a fist with this exercise. It is often the most difficult to master, because it stretches tendons and ligaments often neglected. Use them well with this exercise! Repeat three times.
Again, remember to start at Arrow position. Simply curl all fingers into a fist with thumb overlapping outside. Repeat three times.
Five: In-and -Out
Begin with Arrow position. Simply spread all 4 fingers and thumb wide, keeping all straight in a good, hearty stretch, separate from each other. Repeat three times.
Begin with Arrow position. Take thumb to index fingertip, as if to indicate, “Okay. Good job!” Stretch the index fingertip using thumb as guide as close to hand palm as possible. Repeat with all 4 fingers, for a total of three times each, to complete this final exercise of the Six Pack.
Be kind to your hands and fingers and they will be good to you.