To improve fine motor skills after stroke, you need to rewire the brain with rehabilitation exercise.
In this article, you’ll learn how exercise helps rewire your brain.
Then we’ll provide some great hand exercises and activities to help improve fine motor skills after stroke.
Improve Fine Motor Skills After Stroke with Repetition
When you have difficulty with fine motor skills after stroke, it’s because your brain cannot properly communicate with your hand muscles.
In order to get your brain and your hands communicating again, you need to rewire your brain by activating neuroplasticity.
Neuroplasticity is the mechanism that rewires your brain and allows you to form new neural pathways.
Neuroplasticity is activated through massed practice (i.e. intense, consistent repetition).
How to Use Massed Practice to Improve Fine Motor Skills
Whenever you practice something, specific neural pathways in your brain are triggered.
When you’re learning something for the first time (or re-learning, in the case of stroke recovery), these pathways are new and require lots of repetition in order to grow stronger.
But in time, the connections will strengthen and your brain and muscles will start to communicate like normal again.
That’s why movement gets easier with practice! The more you practice using your fine motor skills, the stronger those skills will become.
That’s why stroke rehabilitation exercise is the #1 treatment for motor impairments after stroke.
So without further ado, let’s dig into some great hand therapy exercises that improve fine motor skills after stroke.
Simple Exercises for Fine Motor Skills
These simple exercises might be a little too tedious for some, but they can be very effective if you’re willing to put in the time:
- Moving beans from one bucket to another
- Putting pegs in a pegboard
- Using rubber bands to exercise your fingers
- Squeezing a stress ball
In order for these exercises to be helpful, they must be repeated over and over. If that might sound daunting, you can try upgrading to these more creative exercises:
Creative Exercises for Fine Motor Skills
It’s time to get in touch your inner child! By bringing a little youthful creativity into your rehabilitation routine, you can reduce boredom and spark a little extra motivation.
Create penny towers by stacking one penny on top of the next. While this might seem tedious at first, it can become a fun, personal challenge to see how high you can get your penny tower.
One of the most popular hand therapy exercise tools is therapy putty. It’s very affordable and fun to use.
Simply practice various therapy putty exercises with massed practice, and it will still help strengthen your finger muscles.
We know, we know! Most people think that finger painting is just for kids. But finger painting can actually be a great fine motor activity for adults after stroke, too.
It allows you to express your feelings visually – even if it doesn’t really look like something.
Tabletop Exercises for Fine Motor Skills
If you’re looking for more guidance, you see our hand exercises for stroke patients. The guide contains 9 physical therapy exercises for your hands.
Enjoyable Massed Practice for Fine Motor Skills
Sometimes rehab exercise can be a real bore, which is why we made the MusicGlove.
MusicGlove is a hand therapy device that combines hand exercises with a musical game. It’s a lot of fun to play and it’s proven to improve hand function in just 2 weeks.
You can watch a video and learn more about MusicGlove by clicking here.