Navigating the Challenges of Hand Movement and Coordination in MS

Multiple Sclerosis (MS) can significantly impact hand function, affecting daily activities and overall well-being. This article explores the various hand-related challenges individuals with MS might face, including weakened strength, reduced sensation, and limited flexibility. We also delve into five hand exercise tools, highlighting their benefits in addressing these challenges and improving dexterity and control.


a hand using strength to squeeze a lemeon
a hand using strength to squeeze a lemeon

Conquer Daily Tasks: Mastering Hand Challenges with Neurological issues similar to MS

Struggling with hand movements due to MS? You're not alone! Discover how to overcome these challenges and regain control of your daily life.

Hand Movement and Coordination Challenges of Neurological Deficiencies Like Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is a neurological condition that can affect various bodily functions, including hand movement and coordination. These issues can arise due to damage to the nerves responsible for sending signals from the brain to the muscles and receiving sensory information from the hands. Let's explore the potential challenges individuals with MS might face and how they can impact daily life.

1. Finger Strength:

  • Challenge: Weakened finger muscles can make it difficult to grip objects like pens, utensils, or doorknobs.

  • Example: Struggling to open a jar lid, difficulty turning doorknobs, dropping objects unintentionally.

2. Finger Sense of Touch:

  • Challenge: Reduced sensation in the fingers can affect the ability to feel objects and their temperature.

  • Example: Difficulty distinguishing between hot and cold water, not realizing you're holding a sharp object, burning your hand while cooking.

3. Wrist Strength:

  • Challenge: Weak wrists can impact balance and control when carrying objects or performing tasks that require wrist movement.

  • Example: Difficulty typing on a keyboard, spilling drinks while pouring, trouble lifting or carrying objects.

4. Hand Palm Strength:

  • Challenge: Weakened palm muscles can affect gripping and holding objects securely.

  • Example: Difficulty holding a book open while reading, dropping objects due to an inadequate grasp, struggling to shake hands firmly.

5. Palm Sense of Touch:

  • Challenge: Reduced sensation in the palm can make it difficult to judge the texture, size, and shape of objects.

  • Example: Difficulty buttoning shirts, fumbling with change, not realizing hands are dirty.

6. Hand Coordination:

  • Challenge: Difficulty coordinating hand movements can affect tasks requiring two-handed actions.

  • Example: Struggling to write legibly, spilling food while eating, having trouble tying shoelaces.

7. Fine Motor Skills:

  • Challenge: Difficulty performing precise movements with the fingers can impact activities like writing, buttoning clothes, or using tools.

  • Example: Difficulty picking up small objects like coins or buttons, sloppy handwriting, struggling to apply makeup.

8. Range of Motion:

  • Challenge: Limited range of motion in the hands and fingers can restrict movement and flexibility.

  • Example: Difficulty reaching for objects on high shelves, having trouble turning the pages of a book, inability to fully open or close hands.

9. Flexibility of Hands and Fingers:

  • Challenge: Stiffness in the hands and fingers can make it difficult to perform tasks that require bending or stretching.

  • Example: Difficulty making a fist, struggling to type on a keyboard, having trouble playing a musical instrument.

10. Spasticity:

  • Challenge: Involuntary muscle contractions can cause stiffness and tightness in the hands, affecting movement and coordination.

  • Example: Difficulty relaxing the hands, experiencing muscle spasms that interfere with daily activities, involuntary hand tremors.

11. Fatigue:

  • Challenge: MS-related fatigue can significantly impact the strength and coordination needed for hand movements.

  • Example: Difficulty performing tasks for extended periods, losing grip strength due to fatigue, needing frequent breaks during hand-intensive activities.

12. Pain:

  • Challenge: Pain in the hands and fingers can affect movement and make it difficult to perform hand-related tasks.

  • Example: Difficulty typing due to wrist pain, avoiding activities like gardening because of hand pain, struggling to grip objects due to finger pain.

Remember: This list is not exhaustive, and the specific challenges faced will vary depending on the individual and the severity of their MS.

Hand Exercise Tools for Overcoming MS-Related Challenges

various hand exercise tools can help individuals with MS regain strength, improve dexterity, and enhance their overall well-being. Let's explore five such tools and how they can address the previously mentioned hand-related concerns:

1. Therapy Putty:

This moldable, non-toxic clay comes in varying resistance levels, offering a versatile tool for strengthening exercises.


  • Finger Strength: Squeezing putty strengthens the muscles responsible for gripping, improving the ability to hold objects securely.

  • Wrist Strength: Repetitive hand, wrist, and forearm movements while working the putty can enhance overall wrist strength.

  • Hand Palm Strength: Molding and shaping the putty strengthens the palmar muscles, improving grasp and control.

  • Fine Motor Skills: Manipulating the putty encourages precise finger movements, beneficial for activities like buttoning clothes or writing.

  • Range of Motion: Stretching and shaping the putty can help improve flexibility and range of motion in the hands and fingers.

2. Hand Therapy Balls:

These soft, squeezable balls are perfect for strengthening and improving hand flexibility.


  • Finger Strength: Squeezing the balls strengthens individual finger muscles, improving grip strength.

  • Hand Coordination: Squeezing and passing the ball between hands can enhance hand-eye coordination and dexterity.

  • Fine Motor Skills: Picking up, manipulating, and transferring the ball between hands helps improve fine motor skills.

  • Range of Motion: Squeezing and stretching the ball can improve flexibility in the fingers, wrists, and hands.

  • Spasticity: The act of squeezing the ball can help manage mild spasticity by providing gentle resistance and promoting relaxation.

3. Finger Exercisers:

These small, spring-loaded devices target individual fingers, offering isolated training for specific weaknesses.


  • Finger Strength: Each finger can be exercised independently, allowing for targeted strengthening of weak fingers.

  • Finger Dexterity: Squeezing the individual finger springs improves finger independence and dexterity.

  • Fine Motor Skills: Using finger exercisers helps improve precise finger movements needed for tasks like typing or playing an instrument.

  • Flexibility: Repeatedly squeezing and releasing the springs can help improve finger flexibility.

  • Pain Management: Gentle finger exercises can help improve blood flow and reduce pain associated with stiffness.

4. Adaptive Utensils:

These specially designed utensils feature built-up handles, wider grips, or other modifications to make grasping and eating easier.


  • Hand Palm Strength: The thicker handles require less grip strength, making it easier to hold utensils for individuals with weakened hand muscles.

  • Hand Coordination: The weighted or angled handles can improve hand-eye coordination and control, making eating tasks less challenging.

  • Fine Motor Skills: Adaptive utensils allow individuals with limited fine motor skills to continue feeding themselves independently.

  • Fatigue: The assistive features of these utensils reduce the effort required for holding and using them, minimizing fatigue during meals.

  • Pain Management: By reducing strain on the hands and wrists, adaptive utensils can help manage pain associated with MS.

5. Grip Strengtheners:

These adjustable resistance bands or handheld devices help strengthen the muscles responsible for gripping.


  • Finger Strength: Squeezing the grip strengtheners targets the muscles responsible for gripping and holding objects.

  • Wrist Strength: Forearm and wrist movements while using grip strengtheners can improve overall wrist strength.

  • Hand Palm Strength: Squeezing the device strengthens the palmar muscles, improving overall hand strength and control.

  • Range of Motion: Controlled squeezing and releasing motions can help improve flexibility in the hands and fingers.

  • Spasticity: Gentle squeezing exercises can help manage mild spasticity by providing controlled resistance and promoting relaxation.

Seeking professional help: If you experience any hand movement or coordination issues, it's crucial to consult a healthcare professional. They can assess your needs, recommend appropriate treatment options like physical or occupational therapy, and suggest strategies to manage these challenges and improve your quality of life.


Living with MS can present unique challenges, but various tools and strategies can help individuals manage these difficulties and maintain independence. Consulting healthcare professionals is crucial to create a personalized plan for managing hand movement and coordination issues, ensuring a better quality of life.