5 Exercises for DeQuervain’s Tenosynovitis

DeQuervain’s tenosynovitis is a condition that leads to inflammation of your wrist on the side of the thumb. The area where the thumb meets the forearm is the area that is affected and one experiences immense pain due to the condition. Strengthening exercises are the only way through which you can get rid of DeQuervain’s tenosynovitis.

Studies show that regular exercising helps to reduce inflammation, help strengthen hand functions and also prevent recurrences of the conditions.(1,2)

Exercises for DeQuervain’s Tenosynovitis

In the course of this discussion, we will take a look at the exercises that can help deal with DeQuervain’s tenosynovitis:

  1. Thumb Lift Exercise for DeQuervain’s Tenosynovitis:

    This is one of the most basic exercises that must be carried out for keeping the movement of your hands, fingers, and wrist unaffected by DeQuervain’s tenosynovitis. Let us take a look at the various steps of the exercise:(2)

    • As the first step, you must place your hand on top of a flat surface. Your palm must be facing up.
    • All the fingers must be stretched out.
    • The thumb must be raised and then placed on the base of the fourth or the little finger.
    • In the next step raise the thumb and keep it straight perpendicular to the forefinger. You will feel a stretch on the back of your palm.
    • The thumb must be put back in its stretched position touching the table.
    • This exercise can be repeated ten times in one slot. Practice three slots in a day.
  2. Opposition Stretch for DeQuervain’s Tenosynovitis:

    This is yet again a palm exercise that deals with the fingers. It helps to flex and stretch the muscles of the palm and hence helps ease out the pain in your wrist.(3)

    • Place your palm on a flat top surface with your palm facing the top.
    • Next, you must bring but the tip of your thumb and your little finger together.
    • Touch the tips and maintain the position for 10 seconds.
    • Then place the fingers back again on the table.
    • Repeat the action ten to fifteen times in one slot. Do about three slots in a day to get complete and quick respite from DeQuervain’s tenosynovitis.
  3. Thumb Flexion Exercise for DeQuervain’s Tenosynovitis:

    This is one of the most helpful palm exercises that help to work the muscles and the ligaments of your palms and your fingers helping to release the tension in your wrist especially on the side of the thumb.(2,4)

    • You need to stretch out all the fingers of your palm and touch the tip of your little finger to a flat surface top.
    • Your palm will be facing sideways where the fingers will be stretched out and will be in a perpendicular position to the surface top.
    • With the other hand, you need to bend and pull up your thumb so that the tip of the thumb will touch the side of your hands.
    • Repeat it ten times in a slot. There must be three slots in a day.
  4. Finkelstein Stretch Exercise for DeQuervain’s Tenosynovitis:

    In this exercise, it is the wrist that is worked at its best. The idea here is to flex and stretch the muscles that run along with the thumb right up to the wrist and a little beyond.(2,3)

    • The placing of the palm must be the way it was done in the thumb flexion exercise.
    • All the fingers must be stretched out and the thumb must be folded inside and the tip of the thumb has to touch the inside of the palm. Use the other hand to bend the wrist downwards where all the fingers will be bound together.
    • Soon you will feel a stretch on the sides of your wrist along the thumb.
    • Repeat a set of fifteen in three slots in a day.
  5. Wrist Flexion:

    As the name of the exercise indicates, the main idea here is to flex the muscles of the wrist.(1,2)

    • You need weights to do this exercise for DeQuervain’s tenosynovitis.
    • Hold the weight in your hand and rest your hand on top of a table. The closed palms holding the weight must face the table
    • Now you need to flex your wrist up and down. When you are taking your wrist down, your closed fist will move towards the tabletop and when up the closed, fist will move away from the table.
    • Repeat the exercise for 20 times.
    • Now reposition your hand where your closed fist will face upwards.
    • Continue with the flexing of the wrist. Now the upper side of your palm will face the table and your closed fist will face upwards.
    • Flex for 20 times.
    • Finally, the rest the side of your hand on the table while still holding the weight.
    • Make circular motions with your wrist.
    • Repeat for 20 times.
    • Each clot will contain 20 repeats of all the three positions.
    • Do two such sets in a day.

Conclusion

On a closing note, it must be said that DeQuervain’s tenosynovitis affects the nerves and the muscles of your wrist. It can be painful and can disturb your lifestyle or hinder the daily chores. There is no age specification for this problem. You can face the problem of DeQuervain’s tenosynovitis at any age. If you have developed DeQuervain’s tenosynovitis, it will soon go away with proper hand exercises.(4) However, it can always come back again. At the very beginning you must be aware of the fact that to cure a condition with exercise, often takes time.(4) So you must not start the procedure with any kind of unreal expectation from the very beginning. Take it nice, easy, and slow. Results from the exercise can come at different intervals for different people. There is no specified timeframe. However, try to maintain a precise schedule for the exercise; this will help you at a later date.

References:

  1. Hall TM & Brody LT. Therapeutic Exercise Moving Toward Function 3rd ed; Lippincott, Williams and Wilkins, 2010.
  2. Piligian G, Herbert R, Hearns M, Dropkin J, Landsbergis P, Cherniack M. Evaluation and management of chronic work-related musculoskeletal disorders of the distal upper extremity. Am J Ind Med. 2000 Jan;37(1):75-93.
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4594817/
  4. https://www.sussexmskpartnershipcentral.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/Exercises-for-De-Quervains-V2.pdf

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