5 Arthritis Relieving Stretches You Can Do At Your Desk

Nutra-Life Nutrition Team
For people with arthritis, sitting at a desk for long periods of time can give a more literal meaning to the expression “working stiff.” A common symptom in most types of arthritis is inflammation and stiffness in the joints, which can be exacerbated by the lack of movement that often comes with a desk job. The sensation is sometimes described as a “gelling” or gradual firming of the joints.<1> The following five stretches are designed to keep your joints from stiffening across the day. Remember to consult your health professional before you try them to check if they are right for you. Wrist extensor stretch<2>
  1. Hold your hand at chest level with elbow bent.
  2. Hold the thumb side with your other hand and gently bend your wrist downward. Hold for 15-30 seconds and repeat four times with a 30 second break between each repetition.
  3. Repeat the same exercise with your arm straight out in front of you.
  4. Switch hands and repeat.
Wrist flexor stretch<3>
  1. Hold one hand at chest level with the elbow bent.
  2. Grasp the fingers of that hand with the other.
  3. Pull the hand back gently. Hold for 15-30 seconds and repeat four times with a 30 second break between each repetition.
  4. Repeat the same exercise with your arm straight out in front of you.
  5. Switch hands and repeat.
Rolling foot stretch (Plantar fascia stretch<4>)
  1. This exercise will require a cylinder-shaped object such as a tin of beans.
  2. Remove shoes and place object under the arch of your foot.
  3. Roll the arch in all directions for a few minutes then repeat with other foot.
  4. Repeat this exercise at least twice daily.
Sitting foot stretch (Sitting plantar fascia stretch<5>)
  1. Cross your right foot over your knee.
  2. With your right hand, gently pull the base of your toes back towards your right shin until you feel a comfortable stretch.
  3. Hold for 15-20 seconds. Repeat three times. Switch feet. Repeat.
Shoulder squeeze and wrist stretch<6>
  1. Put palms and fingers together, like prayer hands, but pointing forwards.
  2. Hold arms stretched out together in front of you then pull your hands in toward your chest, making your elbows bend to each side.
  3. Press your palms together as you move them closer to your body and squeeze your shoulder blades together. Hold for 15-30 seconds and repeat at least twice throughout the day.
<1> Arthritis Foundation (2019) Inflammation and Stiffness: The Hallmarks of Arthritis Available at: https://www.arthritis.org/about-arthritis/understanding-arthritis/arthritis-swelling-and-stiffness.php <2> https://www.health.harvard.edu/pain/exercises-for-pain-free-hands <3> https://www.health.harvard.edu/pain/exercises-for-pain-free-hands <4> https://www.versusarthritis.org/about-arthritis/conditions/foot-and-ankle-pain/#Exercises-to-manage-foot-pain <5> https://www.versusarthritis.org/about-arthritis/conditions/foot-and-ankle-pain/#Exercises-to-manage-foot-pain <6> The Arthritis Society <2019> Sitting Too Long Can Be A Pain Available at http://education.arthritis.ca/en-us/activejointprojectionphysicalthingsyoucan/topic5_3.aspx