The shorter, cooler days of early winter summon cozy images of bubbling soup pots, hearthside fires, and warm mugs of apres ski hot chocolate. But for millions living with arthritis, it’s also high season for stiff, achy fingers when the simple act of opening a jar or writing with a pen can be a challenge. Arthritis flares occur year-round, but when the the cold, damp days set in, I’ve come to expect more complaints about stiff fingers than at any other time of year.
Gentle movement of the joints is the best antidote to stiff digits, even when that feels like the last thing you want to do. A few minutes daily is usually enough to loosen and soothe the joints. These simple exercises can be done separately or together as a practice.
If your work involves curling your fingers inward for long stretches–typing, for example–it’s especially important that you take frequent breaks to gently counter that movement. If you do spend a lot of time at a keyboard, and you’re experiencing stiffness or pain in your fingers or anywhere on your body, make sure your computer setup is ergonomically sound. If not, it’s important to address those issues promptly.