Wrist & Arm Pain

Hi, I'm Doctor Jo, a licensed Physical Therapist and Doctor of Physical Therapy. I hope you enjoy my video demos of stretches & exercises for common injuries and syndromes. If you have a question, just ask. Be safe. Have fun. And I hope you feel better soon.

Hand Arthritis Stretches & Exercises

Hand arthritis is pretty common, and it can be very debilitating. Since the joints in the hand are small, you don’t have to do much to relieve the pain, you just have to keep them moving. These stretches and exercises should help your hand arthritis feel better.

You can set your arm on a table or flat surface to relax it, or if you don’t have anything available, you can prop your elbow up on your knee or thigh.

Start off with a fist and warm up your wrist. With your palm side facing down, move your fist up and down at the wrist for flexion and extension. Now move it side to side in a radial and ulnar deviation movement. Ten in each direction should be fine since this is just to warm up the muscles.

Next, you will keep your fingers straight, and take your thumb and touch each finger in the middle of your hand, and then spread them all back apart. You can do three times back and forth.

Now bend your fingers at the joint closest to your wrist, still keeping the fingers as straight as you can. Bend down and back up gliding the tendons up and down. Now move to the next joint down the fingers. This time open your fingers, and then curl the top part of your fingers down for the stretch. Finally, go to the last joint farthest down the finger. You might have to hold onto the near part of your finger so just the last joint moves. Just start off with ten of each of these with a continuous movement.

For the last stretch, start with all your fingers close together, and then spread them out as far as you can, just like you are fanning them out. You don’t have to do a lot of these exercises since these are small joints. 2-3 minutes, 2-3 times a day should be plenty.

Related Videos:

Hand & Wrist Stretches for Arthritis Pain Relief

De Quervain's Syndrome Stretches, aka Blackberry Thumb

Finger Tendon Glides for Hand Injury or Surgery

Finger tendon glides can help if you have had a surgery in this area or an injury that might have scar tissue build up around the tendons.

For the first exercise, prop your elbow up on something sold. Put your forearm at a slight angle. Keep your fingers nice and straight to start off. This is called the table top. Now bend your fingers at the joint closest to your wrist, still keeping the fingers straight. Bend down and back up gliding the tendons up and down.

The next one is the hook fist. So now you want to bend at the next joint away, making almost a claw like hand.

Now you will do the straight fist, which bends at all the finger joints making a straight fist without curling at your wrist. Then you will do a full fist by keeping your thumb on the outside when you bend them in and slightly bend your wrist too. Make sure you open your hand back up after each squeeze.

Finally is the thumb curl. Bring your thumb up and all the way across your open hand.

TFCC Tear / Repair Stretches & Exercises (Triangular Fibrocartilage Complex)

Here are some simple exercises and stretches to help if you have a TFCC injury, tear, or have had repair surgery in this area at your wrist on the ulnar side.

First start with stretching your wrist. Go gently first, bend your wrist down into flexion. Then bend your wrist up into extension. Then you can turn your hand with the thumb up, and bend up and down into wrist radial and ulnar deviation. Do this 10 times each way. 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.

The next range of motion exercises are for supination and pronation. Bend your elbow to 90 degrees, and keep it by your side so you are getting the movement only at your wrist and elbow. Turn your wrist palm up for supination and palm down for pronation.  If you need a little overpressure, you can use a hammer. The heavy end will help your wrist rotate further.

For the strengthening you can use a can of soup or vegetables, but we will use a resistive band today. Hold the band and bend your wrist up and down, first with your palm down and then up (extension and flexion), then turn your wrist so your thumb is facing up, and go up and down (radial deviation). Try 10 each way, and then work your way up as you get stronger. If you get to 20-25 easily, you can get a stronger band.

Finally, you can roll up a towel and squeeze it in your hand. Hold the squeeze for about 3 seconds and do it 10 times.  If that gets easy, you can use a tennis ball.

De Quervain's Syndrome Stretches, aka Blackberry Thumb

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.

 

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