Hand and fingers

Hi guys and girls im 5months post stroke and i was hoping for some hints or tips on geting my fingers and hand moving ive tried a mirror box and a stim but no luck am i expecting too much to soon ?


Hi, I’m moving onto a mirror box, all be it for pain. I notice you are 5 months post stroke. I have been told it might take 4 months for the mirror therapy to work.
Up to now I have just been imagining movement with my arm and that’s been going on for over a month.
Number of exercises but one I repeat over and over is reaching for a glass on a worktop and holding it, bringing it to me for a sip of drink and returning it. I find it easier to imagine it has some ribena/squash in it.

Part of this involved using an app, unfortunately it costs £4.99. it’s called recognise hand where hands are in all sorts of different positions and you have to state within 5 secs if they are left or right hands.

There are others on here who will be able to offer more insight to you than I can. I know mirror therapy does not work for everyone

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Everyone’s progress is different and it’s difficult to say how long it will take for you to see some improvement. A few things that I did was putting pegs on side of a tub…initially they went everywhere but the tub but I got there in the end. I also tried picking things up and moving them…i used jigsaw pieces but anything will do. I also tried colouring with my affected hand. Again too time but i got there. I had a stress ball too that i sat & squeezed. When i got the eyes to pop out I knew I’d got some movement & strength back.

Not sure if these are any use to you…will depend how much / little movement you have but might help further down the line if not right now.


Hello adsmoore17,
So frustrating. Are your physios / therapists no longer around?
I find washing the dishes, drying and putting away good practice.
You may have to stretch your wrist (twist and turn)and thumb (pulling it gently up and massage). Also, reaching up and sideways with your arm to build up your shoulder strength.
As ever, be patient and practice, the arm, shoulder, wrist and fingers I find is slower because we do more definition with our hands. My wrist and thumb are very slow, but improving little by little.


Hi @adsmoore17

You’ve asked a lot!

I’m 3 years post stroke now. I’ve fairly good movement in my shoulder, also elbow, some movement in the wrist, some in the thumb index and little finger and pretty much only contraction not extension in the other two .

I see progress most days but I work hard at it. When I left hospital I couldn’t move my arm or fingers.

1st caveat: We are all different.
My experience/ journey is fairly typical. Speed of progress is more variable between people. The stages we go through are approximately the same in the similar sequence.

Improvement is slowest the further away from your brain. It happens later. To get good finger movement you’ll need wrist to get good wrist you’ll need elbow to get good elbow in your shoulder.

it ISN’T a simple relationship. This is an incomplete description

Neuro plasticity is always present. When you had your stroke it started finding alternate ways to cope. You have learnt no use You will have to battle against that.

The mirror therapy is about stimulating those brain centres involved in hand use. Imagining also promoters plasticity.
The FES is used to maintain muscle & tendon length & strength - given your some months past you’ll likely have some rebuilding to do. Splinting is also used. There are other ways to go out against spasticity or tone such as Botox injections

If you have not got much movement and or control then the pegs on a tub, moving objects from one box to another, rolling your shoulders etc etc as described in the two grasp manuals or at least inspired by them maybe helpful. They are not a help with regaining functional use however.

As you gain control of movement You might find it useful to attempt everyday activities EG knife and fork, painting, playing an instrument, gardening, cooking, light switches & door handles, laundry, sweeping the floor, lifting a cup of tea to your mouth, writing, typing…

For some of us it’s a long and complex process with less meaningful guidance from outside than ideal so we have to be our own journey’s curators.

Good luck :slight_smile:


@adsmoore17 Hi, it’s difficult to know what to recommend without knowing your present position so I can only speak from my own experiences. When I left hospital I had affected arm movement only. I could not actually use it or place it in any particular position. I was in bed, and could manage to sit up with support. I had no movement at all, absolutely zero in my fingers. For about 2 months I used my good hand to work the lifeless fingers in repetitive little movements, mainly working on making a thumb/index pinch movement many thousands of times.I was told to try imagining movement but nothing moved. Then one morning I woke up and looked at my dead hand and the index finger moved a tiny fraction, like maybe just one mm. I carried on doing my repetitions and a few days later the finger moved again. I was so happy I called my wife to see. It was a long time before I could do anything more but eventually I managed to pinch a little piece of tissue paper and just carried on building from there.

There is no easy way and everyone is different so the only thing you can do is keep working on your affected hand until your brain finds a way to tell it to move. In my case there was no question of mirror treatment or household chores for a long time but you might not be as bad as I was, so just go for the best work you can manage


My first reply fired off too early, before I finished, sorry

Yeah I had a similar moment the first time I got my thumb to move a millimetre actually it wasn’t even that .

For a long time I used to see you the muscles in the back of my hand tremor but the fingers not move.

It’s only in the last week or so by analysing what it takes to eat my cereal left handed I realise that there are deficits in my right hand movement that are not related to the fingers but the wrist. When I practise them last thing at night I can’t get any movement first thing in the morning after having my splint on all night I can get a little - I think a combination of tendon shortening and weak muscles and poor brain connection are giving a triple whammy

I’ve found PT’s have exercises that if they are matched to the subtlety of movement and they don’t explain it perhaps they aren’t aware of it the emphasis is always on fingers never on function

This morning’s inch pebble was that I managed to change the grip on my toothbrush from cleaning the teeth on the left side to the right side It was still clumsy but I swapped my right handed grip from one way to the other almost reminiscent of three and a bit years ago before the stroke that left me physically affected.

Moral from that last paragraph is that you have to battle every day with learnt non-use and in doing that you discover, fractal like, that there are new complexities that need to be figured in

#StrokeWarriors is the right term in this context


@adsmoore17 one of the many physio teams i had suggested putting uncooked rice in a deep bowl and covering small marbles or similar objects, then you put your hand it and fish around to pick them out. it’s frustrating but worked for me, plus i use putty too. Plenty of you tube videos on exercises. small changes will happen, do not rush it or become despondent. Good luck. i am 3 years post stroke and notice subtle changes all the time


That’s it; you find a start, a thread, any thing that you feel might work, and build from there…


Please describe what you are now capable of and perhaps we can help a bit better.
Wishing you the best,