Losing your grip? When to be concerned about declining hand strength
You might not have noticed until you dropped that can of corn or struggled to twist the lid off a jar of jam, but declining grip strength is a common complaint among adults as they age. David Fulton, MD, said it is nothing to be overly concerned about. He offered some advice about how to improve your grip strength and when to see a doctor about it.
Why am I losing grip strength?
“It’s part of the natural aging process,” Dr. Fulton said. “People tend to start to lose grip strength after about age 55 on average.”
There are several reasons for diminished grip strength, including:
- Osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis
- Nerve compression
- Tendinitis of the hand
“Sarcopenia, which is diminished muscle mass, is also typical as the human body matures in age and can play a role in declining grip strength,” he said.
How can I improve my grip strength?
To stay active and keep your grip strength optimal, Dr. Fulton recommends performing squeezing exercises such as using a stress ball or squeezing a ball of clay. “This can help maintain the tone of your hand muscles and keep your joints moving and minimize the natural effects of maturity on your grip strength,” he said.
When is it time to see a doctor about declining grip strength?
If you notice numbness in your fingers or a visible loss of muscle size in your hand muscles, these would be reasons to consider seeking medical attention to rule out a compressed nerve in your arm or hand.
“Other indications to seek medical attention would be pain from arthritis or tendinitis that accompanies loss of grip strength or an injury that produces diminished grip strength,” Dr. Fulton said.
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