De Quervain's Syndrome Stretches, aka Blackberry Thumb

Hi, I'm Doctor Jo, a licensed Physical Therapist and Doctor of Physical Therapy. I hope my physical therapy videos for common injuries and syndromes will help put you on the road to recovery. If you have a question, just ask! Be safe. Have fun. And I hope you feel better soon.


De Quervain's syndrome is an irritation of the thumb tendons from repetitive movements. Over the last decade, texting has become more popular, and people are having more of these symptoms. Some have even termed it Blackberry thumb.  
 
It is just as important to stretch the wrist as well as the tendons of the thumb. We will start by stretching your thumb tendons. Take your thumb and cross it over to your pinky finger; bring it back. Now touch it to each finger, returning it to the starting position each time. Next, take your thumb and place it over your pinky finger pressing it to your palm.  Hold this stretch for 30 seconds, and repeat 3 times.
 
Now it's time to stretch your wrist. Go gently first, bend your wrist down into flexion. Then bend your wrist up into extension. You can use your other hand for some overpressure if you need more of a stretch. Hold each for 30 seconds and do 3 each way.
 
For the strengthening you can use a can of soup or vegetables. Hold the can and bend your wrist up and down (flexion and extension), then turn your wrist so your thumb is facing up, and go up and down (radial deviation and ulnar deviation). Try 10 each way, and then work your way up as you get stronger.
 
Take a rubber band and put it around all of your fingers. You can push just your thumb outwards or all of your fingers outwards. Again, start with 10 and then work your way up. Finally take a small ball like a tennis ball or racquet ball, and squeeze it 10 times.
 



DISCLAIMER: The videos, posts and comments contained on this website are not medical advice. Doctor Jo is a licensed Physical Therapist and Doctor of Physical Therapy; however, she is not YOUR Physical Therapist and can't possibly diagnose you through the Internet. So don’t use this website to avoid going to your own healthcare professional or to replace the advice they have given you. This website is only intended to show and discuss correct physical therapy exercises and information and should not be used to self-diagnose or self-treat any medical condition. If you are not properly diagnosed, the information on this website won’t help, and it could make things worse. So seriously, check with your healthcare professional before doing any of the techniques discussed herein. If you experience any pain or difficulty while exercising, stop immediately and see your healthcare professional.