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Is hand tightness a thing?

I think my newly 6year old may have an overly tight hand and I was wondering what gentle stretches I could do with him? We do lots of playdoh and cutting, but I feel like he needs stretches, if that’s even a thing. In school they are taught to use their fingers to do subtraction and addition, and he’s struggling to get certain fingers fully extended while others are folded, particularly extending his middle finger. Am I over thinking this?


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Hi there and thanks so much for this question! Anytime there seems to be an asymmetry in either movement, strength, or skill, we want to dive a little deeper. Was there a history of a traumatic birth or prematurity? Do you see any differences in the legs as far as strength or coodination? I don’t want to be an alarmist, but I would touch base with your pediatrician to let him or her know what you’re noticing.

Keep us posted. :heart:

Hi, so there’s no real asymmetry if I understand the use of the word correctly. Both hands are like this. He has typical dexterity with them, writes typically, grasps things typically, builds legos. He has apraxia of speech so he was actually evaluated by OT and PT at the same time, actually scored advanced on grasp. It just seems to be this one thing. It’s not super bad, and the left and right hand are the same. I may be over thinking it, maybe it would be best if I sent a picture of him doing the OK symbol? I’m happy to talk to pediatrician too. Just curious how to help him get more extension in his fingers.

It was not a traumatic birth and no other signs of CP. we worked with a PT, actually 2, for heel cord tightness and lower tone.

No birth injury or brachial plexus(?). He was a cardiac baby and had a month in the NICU for open heart surgery at birth.

Thanks I appreciate the guidance

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Ok, that makes sense. I thought only one hand seemed tight to you .

Sometimes it’s not an issue of tightness, but more strength on the opposing side. So for example, it could be an issue with strength of his wrist and finger extensors (the muscles on the top side of the hand, wrist and forearm). How is he with handwriting and holding a pencil?

It definitely seems like his hands are weaker. Like he fatigues from coloring for too long. His hand writing is ok when he tries, but he’s often rushing, I suspect because it’s hard for him. I was actually thinking it looked more like an extensor issue. I had him do some vertical writing yesterday and he really enjoyed it.

I think his pencil grip is good. I mentioned it to his kindergarten teacher and she said she’s let the school OT know so she could come observe him.

Since he was a baby I’ve always tried to encourage gross motor play to help with hand strength because he’s never liked coloring and I thought maybe it was his hand strength.

Do you have any go to hand strengthening activities?

Jumping in here to add some ideas!

I would try wheelbarrow walking, bear walking and crawling to build up strength from the core to the shoulders and all the way through to the fingers

Lots of play with putty and play dough, peeling stickers, using tongs to pick up pompoms

Here’s a reel that we did with some fine motor play activities :relaxed: