Top 5 Exercises to Improve Finger Strength

Finger strength is a measure of how much force a person can generate with their fingers. It is important for activities such as playing musical instruments, typing on a keyboard, gripping tools, and even performing everyday tasks like opening jars and carrying heavy items. Finger strength is largely determined by the size and shape of the muscles in the fingers and the amount of force they can generate when contracted.

There are several ways to measure and improve finger strength. One method is to use hand-held dynamometers, which measure the amount of force generated by the fingers when they are pressed against a calibrated surface. Finger-grip strength can also be tested using a specialized device, such as a hydraulic hand dynamometer. Or to compare difference between the left hand and right hand, a physiotherapist may simply ask the patient to squeeze their hands to see any differences or weaknesses in one side.

At Surrey Physio, we see a small number of patients come in with weakness in their fingers. This is usually due to degenerative changes in the fingers, or rheumatoid arthritis. Sometimes we see people who have very deformed fingers due to osteoarthritis. We also get asked by patients for steroid injections to the fingers. I was asked recently by a 93 year old lady if I would inject her fingers with steroid, which I did, and it worked very well.

However, steroid injections and more invasive treatments such as surgery should be avoided if possible, and exercises are an effective way to reduce pain and inflammation in the fingers.

There are numerous exercises that can be used to strengthen the fingers. By strengthening the muscles in the hands and forearms, weight lifting exercises, such as hanging from a bar, can help to improve finger strength. Finger-specific exercises, such as squeezing a hand grip or a rubber ball, are also effective for strengthening the fingers.

In addition to exercises, gentle use is a good idea to keep the hands and fingers mobile. Use it, or lose it, so people often say. Keep hydrated with plenty of water, and if you are suffering with any loss of feeling in the fingers or numbness, ensure you speak to your local physiotherapist or osteopath, or GP.

Lasty, ice and/or heat can be very beneficial to reduce pain and small amounts of inflammation at the finger joints. They can provide symptomatic relief and improve mobility in your fingers.

Let’s look at our top five exercises for improving finger strength

1. Hot and Cold Therapy for the Hands and Fingers: Fill up a bowl or basin of warm/hot water, place your hands in the water for 2 minutes. Refill the bowl with cold water, place your hands in the cold water for 2 minutes. Repeat with warm/hot water again. Contrast bathing is a very effective way at reducing inflammation and pain.

2. Ball Squeeze: Squeeze a small ball in your hand. Use this to strengthen your thumb and fingers. You can also use putty, a small towel, or other small squeezy items.

3. Hand Grip Training: Adjust the hand grip trainer to the required resistance setting. Squeeze the grip as far as you can, and relax. Repeat as required.

4. Finger Flexion Putty: Hold some putty in the palm of your hand. Squeeze the putty with your fingers, then release. Use this exercise to increase finger strength and grip. You can also mould the putty in different directions using your fingers.

5. Finger Abduction Band: Place and elastic band around all your fingers. Spread your fingers apart against the resistance of the band. This exercise will help strengthen your fingers.

Finger strength is essential for performing daily tasks, playing musical instruments, and operating tools. It is possible to measure and improve finger strength by employing hand-held dynamometers and finger-specific exercises. Fingers can be strengthened like any other part of the body, but they are prone to osteoarthritis and can become stiff and misshaped.

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