The Best Exercises for Your Painful Thumb Arthritis !

As we already know all the Joint Protection” and “Energy Conservation Principles for Thumb Arthritis , what are the good exercises for this condition?

Appropriate Thumb Muscle Exercises are essential to help stabilizing your 1st carpalmetacarpal joint (CMCJ), which is the most vulnerable joint to become inflamed in thumb arthritis.

(Please always monitor your pain or discomfort level in the affected thumb during your exercises, because “too much exercises can irritate your arthritic joint”, which means all the following exercises should be PAIN FREE! )

 

Thumb Muscle Exercises (1st CMCJ Stabilization)
⭐ Thenar Muscle Exercises

✨ “OK” Exercises

1. Gently touch your thumb to each of your four fingertips, one at a time, making the shape of an “O.”

2. Hold each exercise for 10 seconds. Repeat at least 3 times on each hand.

 

Thumb Arthritis

✨ Thumb Opposition Exercises

1. Palm up, then move your thumb across your palm to touch the base of small finger.

2. The red circle indicates your thenar muscle of the thumb, you should feel a good contraction of thenar muscle in this exercise.

3. Hold each exercise for 10 seconds. Repeat at least 3 times on each hand. (You can advance this exercises with rubber band resistance)

 

⭐ Abductor Pollicis Longus Muscle Exercises

 

Thumb Arthritis

✨ Thumb Raise Exercises

1. Palm up, then raise your thumb up to point the ceiling

2. Hold each exercise for 10 seconds. Repeat at least 3 times on each hand. (You can advance this exercises with rubber band resistance)

 

✨ Thumb Away Exercises

1. Palm down, keep your hand flat on a table.

2. Move your thumb away while keeping it on the flat surface (not lifting your thumb up).

3. Hold each exercise for 10 seconds. Repeat at least 3 times on each hand. (You can advance this exercises with rubber band resistance)

 

⭐ 1st Dorsal Interosseous Muscle Exercises

 

 Index Finger Away Exercises

1. Palm down, keep your hand flat on a table.

2. Move your index finger away while keeping it on the flat surface. (The red circle indicates your 1st dorsal interosseous muscle, you should feel a good contraction of the muscle in this exercise.)

3. Hold each exercise for 10 seconds. Repeat at least 3 times on each hand. (You can advance this exercises with rubber band resistance)

 

What’s more, in addition to the above thumb-specific exerciseslow-impact aerobics, strength training, and stretching can also help to prevent stiff joints, build muscle, improve endurance, and benefit your heart, bones, and mood! All these exercises are beneficial to your thumb arthritis!

Just remember,

It is never too late to take care of your thumb arthritis!
Happy Thumb ?= Happy Life ?

 

 

Andrew Tan, OTR/L, CHT, CKTP, CEAS
Latest posts by Andrew Tan, OTR/L, CHT, CKTP, CEAS (see all)

Andrew Tan, OTR/L, CHT, CKTP, CEAS

The founder of "Rehab For A Better Life", specialized in ergonomic consultation, rehabilitation for upper extremity injuries, sports injuries and work-related injuries. Andrew believes rehab-related knowledge should be easy to learn and follow at home, because "knowledge is power only when we can share it" !

4 thoughts on “The Best Exercises for Your Painful Thumb Arthritis !

  • October 28, 2019 at 8:44 am
    Permalink

    The CMC joint is very painful with a variety of fairly small movements. Even so, the x-ray shows relatively minor arthritis. How will these or any other exercises help? In what way?

    Reply
    • October 29, 2019 at 4:18 am
      Permalink

      X-ray does not always reflect your symptoms. I see so many patients have severe arthritis joints on x-ray, but totally pain free.
      Again, all these exercises are aiming to strengthen the muscles around your CMC joint, to provide dynamic stability.

      But like I wrote in the article, you should only do the exercises when there is no pain!
      If it is still so irritated and painful, resting is the best therapy, go get a CMC brace to rest and support it. Then consider these exercises when your pain subside. Always see a certified hand therapist who can fabricate the brace and show you appropriate exercises.

      Hope this helps!

      Reply
  • November 20, 2020 at 5:52 pm
    Permalink

    Thank you Andrew! So happy I stumbled across this article…
    I recently awoke to very painful thumb pain and totally freaked out. Afraid I won’t be able to use my hands any more and honestly making myself more scared by the minute. I do have an appointment in 5 days but in the mean time I was researching my symptoms and found this article and am feeling less scared now. Makes perfect sense to me… I appreciate your sharing.

    Reply
    • December 2, 2020 at 8:24 am
      Permalink

      No problem Ana! Sorry for the late reply! Hope you are doing well!

      Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *