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Hand & Finger Exercises for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Hand & Finger Exercises for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

If you've recently been diagnosed with carpal tunnel syndrome and are wondering if there's anything you can do to help your body heal quicker and maintain the use of your hands and fingers, know that there are indeed some options available, such as ergonomic practices and hand and finger exercises.   

Ergonomics and Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

As we know, carpal tunnel syndrome is a cumulative trauma disorder that manifests itself through a series of symptoms including pain, weakness, numbness, and tingling or burning sensations, usually from a series of repetitive movements over time. The causes of these annoying and often painful symptoms all stem from too much pressure placed on the median nerve running through the carpal tunnel, or the small space on the underside of the wrist that is surrounded and protected by ligaments and bones.

By definition, ergonomics is the practice of rearranging and placing items in a work environment to make them suitable for the body's use and causing the least amount of strain and stress possible. When typing or working on the keyboard, use the least amount of force needed and take a break from typing every hour or so to stretch the fingers before resting them in a stable, stationary position, giving the tendons, muscles, and joints a chance to relax.

Hand and Finger Exercises

In addition to keeping the affected fingers in a stable position to help reduce the effects of carpal tunnel syndrome or another repetitive strain injury, there are also hand and finger exercises you can do in the interim to help improve your condition and keep symptoms at bay. Try doing the following four exercises, if you are able to, and always remember to consult with your doctor first who will be able to offer an accurate diagnosis along with various other medical treatments if necessary.

- Moving Each Finger: Touch each fingertip to the thumb of the same hand and then repeat for a total of five times on each hand.

- Stretching the Fingers: Spread all ten fingers as far apart as possible and hold for a count of ten.

- Stretching the Palms: With both hands folded together and the fingers interlaced, turn the palms away from the body and gently extend your arms forward as far as possible while holding for ten seconds.

- The Thigh Tap: Quickly tap your thigh with the front and then the back of your hand, alternating each side for a total of 20 times.

Besides using the stable finger positions and the hand and finger exercises, also remember to take frequent breaks when working with the hands in any capacity, and try using an over-the-counter medication such as aspirin or a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAID) like ibuprofen to reduce pain and swelling in the wrists and hands. Ice packs may also help to reduce the inflammation caused by carpal tunnel syndrome.