Improving hand strength

Anyone know if there are any exercises or gadgets to help with hand strength?

I'm struggling with opening things...I live alone and quite rurally so don't see people for weeks.

I'll go to open some juice/cordial and can't get the lid off. I have a 'bottle opener' gadget but seems the bottle lid is too small and it's not gripping. Also struggle with lids on bleach where you have to press in the sides and twist at the same time. Are they're any good gadgets that cover a larger array of sizes? or a gadget specifically for 'child proof' lids?

Or anything I can do to help improve my hand strength?



  • frogmorton
    frogmorton Member Posts: 29,245

    Will these help @Susan69 ?

    One of my friends was advised to get natural sponge and squeeze it while in a bowl of warm water too.

    Best of luck

    Toni xx

  • jamieA
    jamieA Member Posts: 669
    edited 24. Jun 2022, 07:59

    I use exercise putty like this.

    I've also got a number of gadgets to help opening tins and bottles. This thread last year listed quite a few aids you can buy.

    I've started buying fresh orange juice in bottles or in cartons with larger caps. I also have issues with opening childproof bottle caps such as bleach and mouthwash where you have to pinch the cap but I haven't found a solution. With bottle tops with the snap off security rings I've found I'm able to break the security ring using the edge of a sharp knife between the ring and cap and twisting the knife. I've also got a serrated carving knife with a handle at right angles - a bit like a saw. It works for bread as well.

  • Susan69
    Susan69 Member Posts: 18

    Some great ideas thanks. I'll have a look at those

  • N1gel
    N1gel Member Posts: 160

    Yes, @susan69 I'm in the same boat.

    Living on my own, (and not being a child!) leaving childproof caps loose isn't so much of an issue.😀

    But I seem to remember a pair of pliers over a rag worked because you could concentrate the pressure in two points, and a rubber band between the gadget and the lid gives extra grip.

    I play with nice warm wax all day as a sculptor which helps my fingers stay active.

  • Susan69
    Susan69 Member Posts: 18

    I'm clumsy though (had mild dryspraxia as a child before the arthritis started!) Have had family open things like bottles of bleach or mouthwash etc then accidently knocked it over and sent it pouring all over the floor! ..cos I can't move fast enough to stop it!

    Wish someone would create a gadget for people to be able to open them easily! can probably get into them anyway!'s only us arthritic oldies that are left struggling!! 😀

  • Any ideas on gadgets not yet on the market can be added to a post I started a few weeks back. 'Gadget wish list'. Can anyone help me add a link to this thread?

    Cheers Danny

  • Susan69
    Susan69 Member Posts: 18

    yes I had a 'silent stroke' years ago that was misdiagnosed it was in the cerebellum so I didn't get the face droop just suddenly struggled much worse with balance and co-ordination...cos I had history of it in childhood and underactive thyroid I was just treated like the petulant child who refused to take their medication when I was taking it!

    It was completely missed until a later MRI as they can apparently show 'old strokes' as white spots on the brain. Unfortunately they did not tell me at the time because `i was 'deaf and difficult to communicate with'

    This lead to me not realising many years later I was having a second TIA and thinking it was simply an allergic reaction so not seeking emergency care at the time. So the balance and co-ordination issues became more pronounced. Both these incidents were before the arthritis symptoms started to show on a regular basis.

    Maybe the inflammation from that attack triggered the arthritis I'm not sure (entire left leg swelled up to over double the size due to a temporary blood clot - I thought because it had happened within 15mins of putting on a muscle rub cream due to waking up in pain that the cream musthave contained Iburporfen and it had got into my bloodstream via a small nick at the back of my leg). unfortunately due to me being alone and family being away on holiday (so had noon eto take care of my dog if I went to emergency room) I just took antihistamines and painkillers for days laying on floor with my legs up the wall to get swelling to go down (except for when I had to walk the dog, fortunately I already had a wheelchair in the house and the scooter due to the previous 'ataxia' symptoms or I'd have never managed that week!). The arthritis symptoms became worse and more frequent after this attack - previously would only get swollen joints in fingers when weather was really freeing like close to 0 degrees and less..after this both hands and knees would swell up much more fequently throughout the year not just coldest months of winter.

    Little fingers are permanently bent now (and funny shaped knees!). Left side is a little weaker than right and there's more problems with left hip than right - possibly because the swelling on that side damaged veins (leg still swells with water retention and during heatwaves) and possibly pushed hip out of joint a bit? - sitting on floor crosslegged I can push that leg right down to the floor can't do that with other leg and left leg 'sits' funny when I'm on scooter. (wider out to side when other leg is straight forwards). ..can consciously move it back in same position but find once I'm distracted with watching traffic and dog etc and next look down left leg has flopped back to that position.

    so not sure..legs stay together better in manual sporty (transport) chair that has cushion with raised front (that raises knees slightly) but chair isonlyused when family have to take me out cos it folds down smaller for car boot and storage in hall cupboard - use older manual chair for round house which doesn't fold down as small but has flip up footplate.

  • Brynmor
    Brynmor Member Posts: 1,755

    Here is a link to the previous discussion Gadget wish list.

    Versus Arthritis also has an affiliation with Arthr who provide high quality designed products:

  • Brilliant thanks for the link

  • N1gel
    N1gel Member Posts: 160

    I was trying to remember where I'd seen that plant pot grab rail!👍️

  • N1gel
    N1gel Member Posts: 160

    Ah, I see. You're talking about one type of Arthritis I'm talking about more localised OA!

    The rest of the story is pretty similar tho. Diagnosed with an 'axia of uncertain origin' aged about 15. Last time I had a brain scan they thought I might have had a 'mild stroke' at some point - but as I don't get on with the neurologist (the word 'unco-operative' was used) after she said I couldn't go on living on my own about 8 years ago; haven't seen her since. The physios like me because I just get on and do things.

    With the poor balance etc I broke my leg halfway up a hill in Scotland 20 yrs ago (don't ask) and they put me on crutches to mobilise asap (I never weaned myself off them) but they didn't warn me of the dangers of OA in the arms. Like you I walked my dog every day along country tracks until the 'tennis elbow' was properly diagnosed.

    In the last two years I've started using my old manual lightweight folding chair around the house but stripped right back of all the footrests and safety kit to get round the corners. I do the free Oxford mindfulness exercises on youtube to 'level things out' mentally and a regular couple of miles on the recumbent exercise bike for the legs (and of course the art)

  • Susan69
    Susan69 Member Posts: 18

    what are Oxford mindfulness exercises???

  • N1gel
    N1gel Member Posts: 160

    @susan69 Some free mindfulness exercises I found on youtube from the Oxford University Mindfulness Centre (so nothing dodgy!).

    I found them from some art viewing exercises on the Ashmolean Museum website.

  • patient76
    patient76 Member Posts: 4


    Have you tried wearing rubber kitchen gloves to open bottle tops? And the pliers lady I think has a great idea, but make sure you are protected as metal could slip.

  • Johnbev
    Johnbev Member Posts: 3

    I use a gadget called a boa adapts to all sizes of lids etc.

    Boa BABYSG Soft Grip Baby Strap Wrench

    available on Amazon

  • AngelaB
    AngelaB Member Posts: 6


    I am also in the same boat. I have psoriatic arthritis and my hands wrists and fingers are bad. I bought a wax bath i pop my hands in which tends to help with pain.

    I have attached the link below . You can get it from amazon. I have also attached an omagr of a grip mat i use to oprn bottles with.

    Hope this is useful x

  • Loulabelle
    Loulabelle Member Posts: 1
    edited 14. Jul 2022, 09:30

    Hi. I have severe arthritis in both hands and struggle opening things. I bought these 2 items off (XXXXX) and they are amazing. They open many things including coke cans, plastic bags that are sealed (like frozen peas etc) and bottle/jar tops

    Touch the image to zoom in

    Multi Bottle Opener,Multi-Function Bottle Can and Jar Grip Opener, 5-in-1 and 6-in-1, Twist Off Lid Kitchen Tool Suitable for Seniors or Arthritic Hands (2Pcs) 

    Brand: BrightBlue

    Post edited to remove retailer's name as this is not allowed - see Community Guidelines. Peter (moderator) Similar products may also be available by other manufacturers

  • Moira
    Moira Member Posts: 82

    I went to my GP who got me an appointment with a hand specialist at the hospital. I now have monthly appointments with a hand OT who is wonderful. She gave me hand exercises (like the ones on the VA website) and putty, although you could use blu-tak!

    I sometimes submerge my hands in warm (not very hot) water which helps as do heated gloves/pads.

    I'm afraid my muscian's days are gone now - go guitar(although can still use the uke - good exercise, I hope), piano is limited and recorders are all retired.

    Good luck.

  • PeterJ
    PeterJ Administrator Posts: 874

    Hello @Loulabelle and welcome to the community. We are a friendly and supportive group and I hope that you find that as well.

    Thank you for your suggestion on everyday aids to help. We have some articles on our website which you also might find of interest, I've put a couple of links in below.

    Please do keep posting and sharing and I hope that others will share their thoughts and experiences as well.

    With very best wishes

    Peter (moderator)

    Need more help? - call our Helpline on 0800 5200 520 Monday to Friday 9am to 6pm

  • PeterJ
    PeterJ Administrator Posts: 874

    Hello @MarinaOrsiniJones welcome to the community.

    Thank you for posting the video and I hope that the articles in this discussion are of some use to you. I would also recommend having a look at our website as it contains a lot of information on arthritis, how it affects us, treatments and Hints and Tips. As an example this link is about our hands

    Please do keep posting and I am sure that others will share their support and experiences as well.

    With very best wishes

    Peter (moderator)

    Need more help? - call our Helpline on 0800 5200 520 Monday to Friday 9am to 6pm