Finger blocking exercises are rehab exercises that involve isolating certain finger or thumb joints in order to prevent surgery complications and restore strength. According to Eaton Hand, tendon adhesions is the most common problem following tendon repair, and finger blocking exercises are specifically designed to prevent this complication.
Finger blocking exercises help the gliding of the flexor and extensor tendons of the fingers, and as an added benefit also help to improve your grip. When used as part of rehab, the exercises strengthen, restore range of motion and prevent stiffness and loss of motion from tendon adhesions. Therapy Library notes that these exercises may be too difficult to perform directly after surgery or injury, so consult your doctor about when it is safe to add them to your rehab routine.
The DIP joint is the end, or top, joint of the finger. DIP blocking helps to restore range of motion and strength in the end joint; perform this on any of the fingers except for the thumb. Start by supporting the finger with your other hand just below the end joint and just above the middle joint. Then bend and straighten the finger using only the end joint, while holding the rest of the fingers straight, extended and motionless.
The PIP is the middle joint nearest the knuckle joint, and PIP blocking prevents stiffness and increases strength and range of motion. Extend the fingers and use your other hand to apply pressure to support or brace the finger just below the middle joint. Hand Surgical Associates notes that your target stabilization area should be right around where you would wear a ring. Bend and extend the finger using only the middle joint, keeping the rest of the fingers extended and motionless.
You can perform thumb blocking exercises in two places as well, though they are a little trickier to find. To work the top joint of the thumb, support or hold the thumb just below the last joint and then bend and extend the thumb using only the last joint. To work the knuckle of the thumb, apply pressure and stabilize just below the base of the thumb. Therapy Library says to apply pressure just below the crease that allows the knuckle to bend. Then bend and straighten the thumb using only the knuckle or base joint.