Wrist & Arm Pain

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

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)

Buy TFCC WorksheetHere 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.

 

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Stretches

Here are some simple Carpal tunnel syndrome stretches. Wrist flexion and extension with radial and ulnar deviation are the stretches to loosen up the scar tissue that has build up in the carpal tunnel. Also you can use overpressure and the prayer stretch to stretch the tendons and vessels running through your carpal tunnel. 

Your carpal tunnel can get irritated and inflamed when working on the computer for a long time or any activity that puts excess pressure on your wrist area. There are many vessels that run through the carpal tunnel, and the nerves can get compressed and cause pain and numbness in the hands. This is called carpal tunnel syndrome. Not only can it be painful, but it also can cause aching, shooting pain, numbness, or just stiffness. Make sure that you have been diagnosed by your doctor that it is truly carpal tunnel syndrome. Many times numbness and pain in the hands can actually be coming from your neck and be misdiagnosed as carpal tunnel syndrome.

The first stretches will be to loosen up your wrist. Make a fist, and at your wrist, bend your hand up and down, or flexion and extension. Then you can go side to side, or radial and ulnar deviation. You can open your fist and straighten your hands for an increased stretch. If that doesn't feel like enough stretch, you can give yourself some overpressure by using your other hand and push in the directions your are stretching. Hold these for 30 seconds and do three of each. If you want to stretch the hands together, you can do a prayer stretch by putting your hands together and bending at the wrist.

 

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