De Quervain's Syndrome Stretches, aka Blackberry Thumb

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.

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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