Easy for us to neglect is fine motor exercises; it’s equally as part of our daily function as the easier-to-work-on gross motor reprogramming. (A quick recap: gross movements are larger, less precise, like lifting a leg or arm; fine involves smaller, exact movements, like finger and toe manipulations.) I haven’t posted enough fine motor exercises for a while, so here are some suggestions all at once to make up for it.
Theraputty. Remember this stuff from OT? It’s pretty much a huge quantity of Silly Putty in various colors (and resistance) that you use on your affected hand to mostly exercise the intrinsic muscles within the fingers. My rehab hospital, RIC, provided me several different exercises to try — extension, flexion, key pinch, among others. I did a short Google search, and you can try accessing this PDF file of some exercises you can do to strengthen fingers. (I would consult an occupational therapist to verify which ones are most beneficial to you; if tone is an issue for you extension might be more ideal, for example.)
Start off with the easiest resistance, which in my experience has always been yellow. When that becomes easy, move up to pink. The colors go all the way up to green, I believe, which is tough even with an unaffected hand.
Bottle caps. This one was new for me early on this year: Beginning with large, bulky bottle caps (like Gatorade ones, taped together like a giant coin), place it about at arm’s length in front of you on a table. Standing away from the table, raise your affected arm straight out and down to pinch with thumb and pointer finger to pick up the cap, raise your arm again perpendicular to your body, and extend your wrist up to “show” the cap forward. This wordy series of instructions may be a bit confusing, but within the next few days I’ll film myself doing it with my unaffected hand so you can see it properly.
Once the bulky caps are too easy and you can do it fifty times in a row with ease, upgrade to smaller and smaller caps (double milk caps, single milk caps, water bottle caps) until you can do it with checkers and then coins.
Sewing. Like knitting, this is obviously a useful craft that you may need anyway. But because it involves intricate movements and dealing with string, it’s easy to just ask others to do it for you. I had a button fall off yesterday and sewed it back on in very little time, actually. Just do it — it’s not as hard as it seems before you dive in. By the way, if you have no clothes to mend (and who doesn’t?!), try creating a small project, like an eye pillow for yoga: try finding something to inspire you at Saveoncrafts.
To our healing,
To our healing,