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Trigger Finger Exercises for Pain Relief

by Jaydee Vykoukal, PT, DPT March 27, 2020 0 Comments

Therapy Putty Exercises

Trigger finger exercises for your wrist, hand, and fingers should be chosen carefully. While the right kind of exercise can be beneficial, too much puts the affected finger tendons and tendon sheaths at risk for increased inflammation. Keep reading to learn which trigger finger exercises are best for you.

Finger Stretches

Stretching is an important part of gaining back tissue mobility in the finger. This helps decrease inflammation, stiffness, and overall make the whole area less likely to lock.

  • “Duck” Tendon Glides

    Hold your hand with the fingers together and thumb out to the side, as if you were wearing a mitten. Then, keep the top two joints of each finger straight as you bend them from the base of your hand as far as they will go, forming a tabletop with the top of your fingers. If you have a trigger thumb, you can bring the thumb across to touch the tip of the pointer finger as well.

    Hold this position for 5 seconds, repeat it up to 10 times total, 1-2 times per day. Modify the range of motion if needed.

  • “Hook” Tendon Glides

    Hold your hand as if you had a mitten on. Then start bending the top two knuckles as you print the tips of the fingers toward the top of the palm. Rest your fingertips on the pads of the palm possible.

    Hold this position for 5 seconds, repeat up to 10 times total, 1-2 times per day. This can be a motion at first, so start gently and increase the range as tolerated. 

  • Hand Abduction

    Holding your fingers flat and together, simply spread all the fingers apart as far apart as you can go. If you notice a stiff area that needs extra attention, you can use your opposite hand to apply an overstretch to it.

    Hold 5 seconds, up to 10 repetitions, for 1-2 sets total.

  • Finger Extension

    Place the palm of your hand flat on your thigh with the fingers straight. Use your opposite hand to pull one straight finger at a time up toward the ceiling until a stretch is felt in the bottom of the finger. Provide adequate support to the finger by holding it in the middle to prevent discomfort at the top two joints in your fingers.

    Hold 10-15 seconds for each finger, 2-3 times total.

Finger Strengthening

Maintaining and building hand strength is another key element to hand health with a trigger finger or thumb.  Therapy putty is the perfect tool for resistance.

  • Finger Spread

    Bring the fingertips and thumb as close together as possible. Then, place a small circular band or piece of therapy putty (rolled into a cylinder and pressed into a circle) around your fingers. Push against the band as you spread the fingers apart as far as they can go. 

    Repeat this exercise 10-15 times for up to 2 times per day. Keep the motion slow and controlled.

  • Palm Squeeze

    Place a rolled ball of therapy putty or rolled hand towel in your palm. Simply wrap your fingers around the ball or towel and squeeze tightly. 

    Hold the squeeze for up to 5 seconds, 10-15 times total, up to 2 times per day. Adjust your grip to what is comfortable for your fingers. 

How Exercise Can Help

Trigger finger exercise can help manage the condition when done correctly. Benefits of exercise include:

  • Boosting circulation to the affected tissues to promote healing
  • Increasing flexibility and finger range of motion, as tolerated
  • Maintaining strength in the finger, wrist, and hand for optimized function
  • Preventing contractures that leave the fingers stuck in a bent position

More Trigger Finger Treatment Options.

Exercise Tips

Keep these tips in mind to maximize your efforts when completing trigger finger exercises:

  • Warm up the hand with home remedies like ice, heat, medication such as ibuprofen, or a TENS unit.

Home Remedies for Trigger Finger Pain

  • To address particularly stiff areas, consider a professional massage or self-massage to loosen up them before attempting any finger movement. This will minimize catching and discomfort. 
  • All movements of the fingers should be gentle and with a focus on symptoms. Always use your pain and comfort level as a guide. 
  • Depending on the severity of your injury, start with passive motion using the other hand as a guide, and build to more active movement as tolerated.
  • If you have rheumatoid arthritis, talk to your doctor first before doing any of these exercises especially if you have an active flare of symptoms. 

Safe and Effective Trigger Finger Exercises

Trigger finger exercises require extra diligence to prevent aggravating symptoms that could result in a locked finger. If your symptoms are progressing or you develop increased pain, stiffness, or an overall decreased quality of life, talk to your doctor or a hand specialist as soon as possible. Otherwise, use your best judgment for where to start and how to progress from there. With the right attention to finger, hand, and wrist exercise, you will maximize your recovery.

Sources:

https://www.healthline.com/health/fitness-exercise/trigger-finger-exercises#massage

SHOP TRIGGER FINGER PRODUCTS

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Jaydee Vykoukal, PT, DPT
Jaydee Vykoukal, PT, DPT

JayDee Vykoukal is a Doctor of Physical Therapy, owner of the healthy habit platform Health Means Wealth, and freelance medical writer. She loves traveling and spending time with her family in nature. Her passion is helping others continue to participate in the activities they love through education and proper exercise.



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