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Therapeutic Exercise Program for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

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Therapeutic Exercise Program

The American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons (AAOS) recommends this stretch to prevent injury and improve range of motion.

Carpal tunnel syndrome is a condition that causes pain, numbness, and tingling in the hand and arm. The condition is caused when one of the major nerves to the hand — the median nerve — is compressed as it travels through a narrow passageway in the wrist called the carpal tunnel.

Therapeutic Exercise Program for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

 A therapeutic exercise program is one treatment option your doctor may recommend. Exercises may help reduce the pressure on the median nerve at the wrist. They may be incorporated with bracing and/or splinting, medication, and activity changes to relieve symptoms.

Some patients may benefit from specific exercises that help the median nerve move more freely within the carpal tunnel. In addition, exercises to help tendons glide through the carpal tunnel can help improve joint range of motion and hand function.

Wrist Extension Stretch

Step-by-step directions

  •  Straighten your arm and bend your wrist back as if signaling someone to “stop.” 
  •  Use your opposite hand to apply gentle pressure across the palm and pull it toward you until you feel a stretch on the inside of your forearm. 
  • Hold the stretch for 15 seconds. 
  • Repeat 5 times, then perform this stretch on the other arm.

Tip Do not lock your elbow.

 

Wrist Extension Stretch

Equipment needed: None

Repetitions:  5 reps,
4x a day
Days Per Week: 5 to 7

Additional instructions: This stretch should be done throughout the day, especially before activity.
After recovery, this stretch should be included as part of a warm-up to activities that involve gripping, such as gardening, tennis, and golf.

Wrist Flexion Stretch 

Step-by-step directions
• Straighten your arm with your palm facing down and bend your wrist so that your fingers point down.
• Gently pull your hand toward your body until you feel a stretch on the outside of your forearm.
• Hold the stretch for 15 seconds.
• Repeat 5 times, then perform this stretch on the other arm.

2. Wrist Flexion Stretch

Equipment needed: None
Additional instructions: This stretch should be done throughout the day, especially before activity.
After recovery, this stretch should be included as part of a warm-up to activities that involve gripping.

Medial Nerve Glides

Step-by-step directions
• Make a fist with your thumb outside your fingers (1)
• Extend your fingers while keeping your thumb close to the side of your hand (2)
• Keep your fingers straight and extend your wrist (bend your hand backward toward your forearm) (3)
• Keep your fingers and wrist in position and extend your thumb (4)
• Keep your fingers, wrist, and thumb extended and turn your forearm palm up (5)
• Keep your fingers, wrist, and thumb extended and use your other hand to gently stretch the thumb (6)

 

Medial Nerve Glides

Equipment needed: None

Additional instructions: Apply heat to your hand for 15 minutes before performing these exercises.
After completing the exercises, apply a bag of crushed ice or frozen peas to your hand for 20 minutes to prevent inflammation. Hold each position below for 3 to 7 seconds.

Tip Do not put too much pressure on your thumb in position 6.

Tendon Glides

Tendon Glides

Step-by-step directions for Series A
• With your hand in front of you and your wrist straight, fully straighten all of your fingers (1)
• Bend the tips of your fingers into the “hook” position with your knuckles pointing up (2)
• Make a tight fist with your thumb over your fingers (3)

Tip These movements may cause a gentle pulling, but should not cause increased pain.

Repetitions
5 – 10 reps,
2 to 3x a day

 

Tendon Glides

 

Step-by-step directions for Series B
• With your hand in front of you and your wrist straight,
fully straighten all of your fingers (1)
• Make a “tabletop” with your fingers by bending at your
bottom knuckle and keeping the fingers straight (2)
• Bend your fingers at the middle joint, touching your fingers to your palm (3)

 

Equipment needed: None
Additional instructions: Apply heat to your hand for 15 minutes before performing these exercises.
After completing the exercises, apply a bag of crushed ice or frozen peas to your hand for
20 minutes to prevent inflammation.

Two series of tendon gliding exercises are provided here. Follow these general instructions for both
series:
• Proceed from position 1 through 3 in sequence
• Hold each position for 3 seconds
• As the exercises become easier to complete, increase the number of repetitions, or how many times per day you do
them

There are few stretches which you can do before doing Gym exercises

Stretch

Safety and Precautions

If you have any shoulder instability due to rotator cuff tears, tendinitis, arthritis, or feel any pain or instability, do not do shoulder stretches until you have discussed it with your doctor.

Further information

The information provided on this site is intended to be used as an educational resource only. It is not intended to be medical advice for individual conditions. Consult with your physician prior to beginning any medical regimen.

Please contact a healthcare professional: 

  • If you experience excessive or acute pain that cannot be explained by another cause.
  • If You have questions or concerns about stretches or exercises.
  • to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.