Your tendons keep you moving. Tendons are bands of tissue that connect muscles to bones or to other muscles, and are responsible for transmitting movement impulses from the muscles to the rest of the body. Tendons in your fingers are essential for fine motor skills involving your hands and even simple activities that require bending your fingers, but they can be rendered stiff or sore by repetitive stress. Carpal tunnel syndrome, for example, is a repetitive stress disorder affecting finger tendons and nerves. Fortunately, a number of simple, time-tested home remedies may help you loosen stiff finger tendons -- but consult your physician before trying them out.
Topical treatments are an easy way for you to ease the discomfort of stiff or injured tendons. A traditional treatment for tendon stiffness is to apply a paste of iodized salt and cider vinegar to the affected area. Drs. John Wilson and Thomas Best of the University of Wisconsin Medical School recommend another old-fashioned home remedy: applying ice to overused tendons to reduce swelling.
Hand and Finger Exercises
Stretching is a time-honored way to alleviate stiffness and a proven way to deal with stiff or irritated tendons in your fingers. A couple of specific hand exercises that can increase tendon flexibility in your hands and fingers include gently forming a fist with your affected hand and flexing your fingers so their tips touch the base of your palm. If your tendon stiffness was caused by traumatic injury, consult your physician before doing any exercises.
Traditional solutions to minor ailments sometimes involve avoiding the conditions that trigger and aggravate them. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center a few simple lifestyle changes can help alleviate or prevent tendon problems and stress in your fingers caused by carpal tunnel syndrome. Wearing a wrist brace at night, not sleeping on your hands and taking regular breaks when doing repetitive work with your hands and fingers can all help ease discomfort and stiffness in your hands.
The ancient Indian practice of yoga has been shown to ease discomfort and improve grip strength in those affected by carpal tunnel syndrome and repetitive stress injuries. Yoga reduces stress, tension and muscle rigidity, all of which can aggravate hand stiffness. Poses that require balancing your weight on your hands, such as the downward dog pose, however, can aggravate stiff or injured hands, so avoid them.
Is This an Emergency?
- American Society for Surgery of the Hand: Stiffness in the Hand
- Alternative Medicine: The Definitive Guide: Larry Trivieri, et al.
- American Family Physician: Common Overuse Tendon Problems: A Review and Recommendations for Treatment
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
- Will-Harris.com: Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, Repetitive Strain Injury and Yoga
- American Society for Surgery of the Hand: Extensor Tendon Injuries
- Yoga Journal: Carpal Tunnel Cure