If you’re struggling with arthritis pain in your hands, you may not want to move them much, but resist that temptation! You need to do exactly the opposite.

Daily exercises that specifically target affected joints can improve pain, range of motion and hand strength by promoting blood flow to damaged cartilage and increasing the natural joint lubrication that occurs with movement.

Try these hand exercises…

Make an “O” by touching the tip of your thumb to the tip of your index finger and hold for three seconds. This will increase thumb stabilization.

Handle coins and other small objects to improve pinch and finger manipulation.

Flip and shuffle cards to increase the flexibility of your fingers.

Squeeze putty to strengthen all the muscles of your hand. This will increase both your grip and pinch strength for opening jars and containers, opening doors and for lifting and carrying items.

My advice: Do these exercises for 10 to 15 minutes, twice daily.

Source: Carole Dodge, OTR, CHT, who supervises the occupational hand therapy program at University of Michigan Health System in Ann Arbor. She specializes in osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, joint replacements and traumatic hand injuries. She is also director of the Michigan Medicine Hand Fellowship program.