Back In The Game: Exercises For Your Gamer’s Thumb

Back in 2018, we posted our first blog on Gamer’s Thumb to help our patients understand the condition (De Quervain’s Tenosynovitis) and provide some information on the available treatment options. Since then, the condition has only become more prevalent with more cases diagnosed each year.  This time, we are going to explore some of the exercises that you can do at home to either help relieve some of the pains caused by Gamer’s Thumb, or help prevent it.

Gamer’s Thumb refers to the repetitive strain on your thumb tendons, leading to inflammation, pain and limited movement in the thumb and wrist. If you’re interested in learning more on the condition, visit our original post, Gamer’s Thumb and Other Gaming Hand Injuries. If you already know all about Gamer’s Thumb, there hen are some techniques to try out at home:

Tendon Gliding

This exercise is important for isolated gliding of your tendons in each finger. Make sure to keep your wrist straight for every exercise. You will start and end with your fingers straight every time. Do these exercises slowly for 3 repetitions, 2 times per day.

Active Wrist Exercises

Do these exercises slowly for 3 repetitions, 2 times daily.

Thumb Exercises

Do these exercises slowly for 3 repetitions, 2 times daily.


Icing and cold packs are a simple and convenient way to reduce pain and swelling.
Place a large ice pack around the swollen area (i.e., circling the wrist, etc.). A paper towel can be placed over the area before the cold pack is applied. A towel may be wrapped outside of the cold pack to keep the cold in. The swollen area should be elevated with the cold pack, if possible.
There are four phases to proper cold pack application and procedure:

  1. Cold: Which you feel when you first apply the ice.
  2. Ache: After a few minutes.
  3. Burning: After approximately five minutes, it will feel like your skin is burning. At this point, remove the ice for a minute or so.
  4. Numbness: THIS IS THE CRUCIAL PHASE! Return the ice or cold pack and massage until all the burning disappears. This signals the end of cryotherapy.

Cold therapy should be performed after exercises, when swelling occurs or when an area is painful. If you do not have a gel filled cold pack, a bag of frozen vegetables or a bag with 2 portions water and 1 portion alcohol frozen can be substituted.

If you need additional assistance treating your Gamer’s Thumb or any other hand condition, contact your nearest Motus Rehabilitation location!

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