4 Tendon Gliding Exercises for Carpal Tunnel Relief

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Treating Carpal Tunnel Syndrome with Tendon Gliding Exercises

Brett Sears, PT, 2011

Tendon gliding exercises are often a useful tool to manage the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome. The goal of the exercises are to improve the way your tendons move through the carpal tunnel of your wrist and alleviate pain that can limit your ability to perform normal, everyday functions like typing or grasping. Tendons that glide and slide smoothly through the carpal tunnel help to keep your wrist and fingers functioning normally.

Try the following tendon gliding exercises to help decrease the pain and tingling associated with carpal tunnel syndrome. You can also use the exercises to help prevent future problems with carpal tunnel syndrome and promote optimal mobility.

Be sure to check with your doctor or physical therapist to make sure you should be performing these exercises. Also, consult with your doctor if your symptoms are severe or have been present for more than four weeks.

Start with your hand opened up, like you are telling someone to stop. After each subsequent position, return to this open hand position for two to three seconds.

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Fingers Down Position

Brett Sears, PT, 2011

Slowly bend your fingers down until each knuckle is bent and the tips of your fingers are touching the pads at the base of your fingers. You should not experience any pain as you do this, although you may feel some tension in your fingers or wrist. Hold this position for two to three seconds and then return to the starting open-hand position.

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Fist Position

Brett Sears, PT, 2011

From the open hand starting position, slowly make a fist and squeeze gently. This should be pain free. Hold this position for two to three seconds and return to the open hand position.

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"L" Position

Brett Sears, PT, 2011

Slowly bend your fingers forward, but be sure to keep the knuckles of your fingers straight. Only the joint where your fingers meet your hand should bend. Your hand should now be in the shape of an "L." Hold this position for two to three seconds and then return to the starting position.

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Fingers to Palm Position

Brett Sears, PT, 2011

Bend your fingers at the first and middle joints only. The tips of your fingers should rest gently on your palm. Hold this position for two to three seconds and return to the open-hand starting position.

Repeat this series of tendon glides five times, three times per day to help relieve symptoms and prevent future problems with carpal tunnel syndrome. By keeping your tendons gliding properly, you can be sure to keep your hand and wrists moving the best they can.

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