Thumb injuries can take on many forms -- including dislocation, sprains or fractures. Depending on the severity of your injury, it may take weeks or months for your thumb to heal. As part of your rehabilitation process, you may be referred to a physical or occupational therapist to help build strength, increase range of motion and improve the overall functioning of your hand. You may be provided with thumb rehab exercises to complete at home as well.
Rubber Ball Exercise
A rubber ball exercise can help strengthen as well as improve flexibility in a thumb recovering from injury. You will need a stress ball or small rubber ball -- small enough to fit in the palm of your hand. You can purchase a ball at a local sporting good store or a physical or occupational therapist may be able to provide you with one. Place the small ball in the palm of your hand. Grasp all of your fingers around it and squeeze the ball as tightly as possible. Hold this position for 5 seconds. Relax and repeat three sets of 10 repetitions daily.
Object Pick-Up Exercise
Complete an object pick-up exercise to help strengthen the bones and ligaments of your thumb. This is a functional exercise designed to make completing daily tasks with your hands easier. Place a variety of small objects on a table, such as paper clips, safety pins, pencils, pens, coins and marbles. Use your thumb and one of your other fingers to pick the objects up and move them to your opposite side. Complete this exercise for 5 minutes each day.
A range-of-motion exercise can help to increase the function and movement of your affected hand. Position the palm side of your affected hand flat down on a table with your fingers positioned close together. Stretch your thumb as far out to the side as possible. Hold this position for a count of 5 seconds. Return to the starting position. Next, lift your hand slightly off the table. While keeping your fingers straight, bring your thumb as close to your small finger as possible Hold this position for 5 seconds. Complete three sets of 10 repetitions of this sequence each day.
Wrist Circle Exercise
Treatment for a thumb injury can often mean time spent in a cast or splint that restricts the range of motion and functioning of your wrist. As a result, your wrist may be weak and stiff upon cast or splint removal. A wrist circle exercise can help to improve strength and function in your wrist. Place the elbow of your affected thumb on a table. Make circles with your wrist going clockwise and counterclockwise. Avoid moving your forearm during this exercise. Complete this exercise for 5 minutes each day.
- IHA Healthcare: Thumb Sprain Rehabilitation Exercises
- "Fundamentals of Hand Therapy"; Cynthia Cooper; Jul. 31, 2006