Thumb arthritis, also known as basal thumb arthritis, can quickly make you realize how much you need your thumbs for daily activities. When you experience pain and stiffness with gripping and pinching from thumb arthritis, exercises that focus on restoring strength and flexibility can help significantly with symptoms. Keep reading to learn more about thumb arthritis exercises.
Hand exercises have many potential benefits for thumb arthritis. Range of motion exercises can promote circulation, reduce stiffness, and relieve pain. Additionally, focusing on proper exercise form can restore balance and thumb joint flexion to reduce any unnecessary wear.
Start here with these hand exercises. You should notice over time that you can tolerate more movement.
This simple exercise is great for any kind of hand arthritis since it gets all of the fingers moving. Start with fewer repetitions and then increase as you can tolerate.
This basic stretch can alleviate soreness, stiffness, and restore some function to your thumb. As always, start this stretch gently.
A thumb range of motion exercise program wouldn’t be complete without some basic thumb movements. The most commonly restricted thumb motions are abduction and flexion.
This functional move helps restore function to your thumb for gripping, reaching, and pinching. If you can’t reach your last finger or two at first, just focus on the fingers that you can comfortably reach.
Grab some light to medium therapy putty or something soft to squeeze like a rolled towel for this one. Focus on good joint alignment while pinching the fingers together to build full finger strength.
This basic exercise allows you to focus exclusively on thumb strengthening and joint alignment. Plus, this combo move strengthens both thumb flexors and adductors together.
This exercise works the extensor muscles in the hand and thumb, helping with full hand balance and circulation. There are a few different tools you can use to do this exercise.
Working on grip strength is an essential part of any hand and thumb exercise program. It is one of the most functional moves we need for daily activities, making is so important.
As illustrated throughout the exercises above, having a variety of tools can help maximize your thumb and hand strengthening. Each tool has unique uses to consider when deciding what will be best for you. Below are some of the top options.
The use of therapy putty is a favorite among occupational therapists and hand therapists for its versatility. You can get a variety of strengths and progress to harder resistance as tolerated during your program. You can use therapy putty for any of the strength exercises listed above. However, it does take a little extra thought and manipulation to use it correctly for each exercise.
This robust tool is also easy to use with a variety of exercises. However, it tends to require more hand and finger strength than other options. Thus, it’s not necessarily the best beginner tool. They also come in a variety of strengths too so that you can switch between different movements and use them to progress as needed.
This hand exercise tool is specifically designed for strengthening the extensor muscles in the fingers, thumb, and hand. While it lacks the versatility of some of the other tools, this tool makes extension-based exercises very simple to do quickly and efficiently. Ultimately, it is great to pair with any of the other three options.
No hand exercise tool bag is complete without a ball to squeeze. This is a tool that you can keep near you throughout the day and use when you have a few moments to continually promote hand strength and circulation. A hand exercise ball focuses specifically on grip and flexion strength, thus it is best paired with one of the other three options too so that you can strengthen into extension as well.
Now that you have a few exercises to try, it’s time to review some practical tips for maximizing your program.
Pair your exercise program with pain relief modalities to better manage pain, stiffness, and inflammation- this might include massage of the base of your thumb, use of medication, ice, heat, and electrical stimulation
With a few basic exercises and home treatment options, you can feel in control of managing your thumb arthritis. While stretching and strengthening may initially feel counterintuitive for your sore thumb, it’s all about finding a balance of rest and movement while focusing on good hand ergonomics.
If you notice your symptoms are getting significantly worse, suddenly change, or are affecting your quality of life, get in touch with a trusted medical professional as soon as possible for further medical advice.
Sources:Shop thumb arthritis
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