When you have a case of tendinitis in your wrists, whether it is just a few beginning twinges or a full-blown case of irritation, pain, and swelling, stretching and gliding exercises can help alleviate the symptoms by lubricating both the large nerves and tendons that pass through the carpal tunnel and provide feeling and function to the hands.
All of these exercises must be performed gently – if, at any point, you feel any unpleasant symptoms, such as pain (either a sharp stab or a burning sensation), numbness in your wrist, fingers, or hands, tingling in these areas, and so on, stop for a few minutes and then start again more gently and carefully. A sensation of tautness, somewhat like a cord pulled tight inside your hands, arms, or shoulders, is both acceptable and a sign that you are doing the exercises correctly.
Be sure to keep concentrating on the feedback that your body is providing you, so that you will not start doing the exercises too roughly, or too rapidly. This means that you should do these exercises, as much as possible, without any distractions – don’t watch a movie or television, avoid talking to other people and try to find a quiet time or place to carry out your gliding workout.
Flexor Tendon Exercises for Tendinitis
Exercising your flexor tendons is the simpler part of the stretching and gliding routine, due to the fact that it is mostly achieved by moving the fingers. The nine flexor tendons passing through your wrist are all linked to finger joints, unlike the nerves, which are somewhat more complex to stretch. The name “flexor” indicates their role, to flex your fingers – and it is exactly by flexing your fingers in different ways that you can glide your tendons back and forth, alleviating symptoms.
Hold each pose for 6 to 12 seconds, starting at 6 and working up to 12 as your tendinitis permits. Here are the most common flexor tendon exercises for working out the kinks of tendinitis:
Upright Finger Bends – extend your arms level in the air in front of you, then bend your hands, fingers together and thumb relaxed, upwards towards the ceiling. From this position, bend your four fingers horizontal again at the knuckles, keeping the fingers straight and together. The thumb should stay entirely relaxed throughout.
Finger Straightening – extend your arms level, with your hands relaxed (fingers loosely curled). Straighten your fingers and thumb forward, keeping your fingers together and your thumb slightly separated from them. Hold, then relax your hand and repeat.
Half Fist Exercise – the half fist exercise involves holding your arms and hands in the usual starting position, with your fingers pointing straight and held together. Keep your thumb relaxed throughout. Keeping your fingers together, bend the joints closest to the hand while keeping the joints further from the hand straight. This should cause your fingertips to bend down and lie against your palm parallel to the base of your thumb. Hold, relax, repeat.
Full Fist Exercise – the full fist exercise is the process of making a fist, starting with straight fingers held together.
Thumb Tendon Stretching – this exercise concentrates on the single flexor tendon that is works the thumb. Hold your hands out straight, fingers together. Flex your thumb out to the side as far as you can without causing pain, and hold. Then bend your thumb across under your hand to touch the base of your little finger (if possible) and hold again. Relax, then repeat.
Clutch Gliding – your thumb is not used in this exercise, and remains relaxed beside your hand throughout. Start with your hands stretched out flat in the air in front of you, fingers together. Then, curl your fingers in on themselves like you are clutching something, so that you fingertips end up touching the underside of the first joint as well as the front edge of your palm. Once again, hold, relax, and repeat as many times as necessary.