According to the eOrthopod website for orthopaedic resources, your thumbs perform a vast range of movements almost every single minute of the day. For this reason, they are a common site of repetitive strain injuries, tension and arthritis, which can limit or prevent your thumbs from performing movements, including rotation or pronation. Gentle stretching exercises can help to restore or improve this range of motion. However, if you have an existing hand condition, you should seek your doctor’s approval before beginning any treatment. The Hand Surgical Associates website advises doing all exercises slowly and avoiding jerking actions.
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Right-angle Thumb Stretch
This exercise stretches the muscles at the base of your thumb, which can get tense from activities such as too much texting or driving. The Hand Health Resources website says to position your hand so your little finger is resting on a table, your palm is facing inwards and your thumb is on top. Your fingers should be straight and lightly pressed together. Use the fingers of your other hand to gently pull your thumb upwards so it is stretched at a 90-degree angle from your fingers. Hand Health Resources says to make sure you pull your thumb from the base, rather than the middle or tip, to avoid strain. Hold the stretch for a few seconds and repeat three times on each hand.
Hold one arm out in front of you and gently pull the thumb back towards your wrist, advises the Stretch Now website. You should feel a stretch down your palm, below your thumb. Hold for a couple of seconds then push the thumb forwards, gently pushing it towards you palm by pressing on the lower section, not up near the tip. Hold for a few more seconds, repeating the series one to two times on each hand.
The Hand Surgical Associates website says to place the back of one hand on a table and rest your thumb across your palm. Lift your thumb up so the tip is pointing towards the ceiling. Hold for a second or two and return to the start position. Repeat at least 10 times on each hand.