Prosthetic Arm Exercises

Understand how to maintain your assistive device

Physiotherapy Exercises

You will have three levels of exercises:

  1. Motion Exercises: Start these BEFORE you receive your assistive device in order to increase strength in the muscles you will need to make your assistive device work.
  2. Isometric Exercises: Progress to Isometric exercises once you receive your assistive device and are comfortable with Motion Exercises
  3. Dynamic Exercises: Complete these once comfortable with Isometric exercises, and use assistive device.

Things to Remember

POSTURE

  • Be careful not to lean your torso to the side
  • Do not lean head forward
  • Try not to shrug your shoulder toward your ear. You should be able to lift your arm forward and to the side to the height of your shoulder without your shoulder moving

OVERUSE SYNDROME

  • Signs include gradual increase of pain in neck, shoulder, elbow or wrist
  • More common in sound arm
  • Overuse syndrome can be avoided by doing all tasks with both arms where possible, keeping a good body posture and reducing repetitiveness.
  • If pain persists, stop the exercises and see your doctor.

How to Progress Through Exercises

  1. Begin with Motion Exercises before you receive your assistive device
  2. Choose 3-5 exercises that are challenging but that you can do correctly
  3. Complete at least 3 times a week. If you are doing low reps, up to 6 times a week is okay (but not more than 3 times a day)
  4. Once you receive your assistive device, try the Motion exercises using the assistive device to make the exercises more challenging.
  5. Progress to Isometric exercises once you can complete Motion exercises.
  6. Progress to Dynamic exercises once comfortable with Isometric exercises.

Level 1: Motion Exercises

Start motion exercises without your assistive device.

You can also make these exercises into a stretch by completing less repetitions (usually 3-4) and holding the end pose for 20 seconds. Do not force stretches.

Wall Angels

REPS: 10 | SETS: 1 | HOLD: 5 | WEEKLY: 5x | DAILY: 1X

STEP 1: Setup

Begin in a standing upright position with your back against a wall.

STEP 2: Movement
Raise your arms out to the side with your elbows bent to 90 degrees, and rest them against the wall. Slowly slide your arms straight up into the wall, then lower them back to the starting position and repeat.

Tip: Make sure to keep your back and arms in contact with the wall, and do not shrug your shoulders or arch your lower back during the exercise. Only raise your arms as far as you can without causing pain.

Shoulder Horizontal Abduction – Thumbs Up

REPS: 10 | SETS: 1 | HOLD: 5 | WEEKLY: 5x | DAILY: 1x

STEP1: Setup

Begin in a standing upright position with both arms raised in front of your body, thumbs pointing up.

STEP 2: Movement

Slowly bring your arms out to your sides, then return them to the starting position and repeat.

Tip

Make sure to move your arms horizontally and do not shrug your shoulders during the exercise.

Seated Finger MP Flexion and Wrist Extension ARM with Elbow Bent

REPS: 10 | SETS: 1 | HOLD: 5 | WEEKLY: 5x | DAILY: 1x

Setup

Begin sitting upright with your elbow resting on a table beside you, with your arm held up and your wrist relaxed.

Movement

Bend your wrist backward, and curl your fingers into a fist at the same time. Then slowly return to the starting position and repeat.

Tip

Make sure to focus on only moving your wrist and hand. Keep the rest of your arm relaxed during the exercise.

Level 2: Isometric Exercises

Progress to Isometric Exercises when you can complete most of the motion exercises 30-40 times a minute accurately. Do not start Isometric Exercises if there is pain when you complete Motion Exercises

Isometric Finger Flexion

REPS: 10 | SETS: 3 | HOLD: 2 | WEEKLY: 5x | DAILY: 1x

STEP 1: Setup

Begin with one palm facing down, the other facing up and the ends of your fingers locked together with your fingers locked together with your knuckles slightly bent.

STEP 2: Movement

Greatly pull your arms apart, resisting the movement with your fingers. Do not let your fingers straighten. Hold, then relax and repeat.

Tip

Make sure to keep the rest of your arms straight during this exercise.

Seated Gripping Towel

REPS: 10 | SETS: 3 | HOLD: 2 | WEEKLY: 5x | DAILY: 1x

STEP 1: Setup

Begin sitting upright with your arms resting on a table.

STEP 2: Movement

Squeeze the towel, then relax and repeat.

Tip
Make sure to keep the rest of your arm relaxed during the exercise.

Seated Isometric Elbow Extension

REPS: 10 | SETS: 3 | HOLD: 2 | WEEKLY: 5x | DAILY: 1x

STEP 1: Setup

Begin sitting in an upright position with one elbow bent at 90 degrees, hand in a fist, and your other hand flat underneath your fist.

STEP 2: Movement

Try to push your elbow downward, while resting with your other hand so that your arm does not move. Relax, and repeat.

Tip

There should be little to no movement during this exercise.

Seated Isometric Elbow Flexion

REPS: 10 | SETS: 3 | HOLD: 2 | WEEKLY: 5x | DAILY: 1x

STEP 1: Setup

Begin sitting in an upright position with one elbow bent at 90 degrees, hand in a fist, and your other hand flat on top of your fist.

STEP 2: Movement

Try to bend your elbow upward, while resisting with your other hand so that your arm does not move. Relax, and repeat.

Tip
There should be little to no movement during this exercise.

Standing Isometric Shoulder Flexion with Doorway

REPS: 10 | SETS: 3 | HOLD: 2 | WEEKLY: 5x | DAILY: 1x

STEP 1: Setup

Begin standing in an upright position in front of a doorway, with a towel between your involved arm and the doorframe.

STEP 2: Movement

Gently press your hand forward into the towel, keeping your arm straight. Hold, then relax and repeat.

Tip

Make sure to maintain good posture and do not shrug your shoulder. There should be little to no movement during the exercise.

Isometric Shoulder Extension at Wall

REPS: 10 | SETS: 3 | HOLD: 2 | WEEKLY: 5x | DAILY: 1x

STEP 1: Setup

Begin in a standing upright position with your elbow bent 90 degrees, and a towel between the back of your arm and a wall.

STEP 2: Movement

Push your elbow directly backward into the wall, then relax and repeat.

Tip

Make sure to keep your back straight during the exercise. There should be little to no movement.

Isometric Shoulder Abduction

REPS: 10 | SETS: 3 | HOLD: 2 | WEEKLY: 5x | DAILY: 1x

STEP 1: Setup

Begin in a standing upright position with your elbow bent at 90 degrees and a towel roll tucked in between your elbow and your body.

STEP 2: Movement

Gently press your elbow into your side and hold.