In this blog post, I’m going to guide you through 2 stretches to help relieve thumb arthritis pain. 

Best of all, you’ll likely feel an INSTANT relief, or at least a significant reduction in pain. Keep in mind, how much relief you feel will depend on the severity of your arthritis.

When we’re talking about thumb arthritis pain we’re talking about pain at the base of the thumb.

If you are experiencing thumb pain, or achiness, elsewhere you could definitely try these exercises. However, they are designed to target arthritis.

It’s always important to make sure you know your stage, or severity of thumb arthritis. Your doctor can provide you with this information based on an x-ray.

Disclaimer: Always check with the doctor before you start any kind of exercises or stretches.



Relieve Thumb Arthritis Pain Stretches

It’s important to have the ability to open your thumb wide when your using your thumb for various grasping and pinching activities.

If you have thumb arthritis you may notice a loss of being able to spread your thumb out wide. 

Thumb arthritis pain at the base of your thumb when holding a cup or glass.

Have you ever picked up a large cup and felt sharp pain at the base of your thumb? 

Limited thumb range of motion, especially in the web space, means the load of holding that object will transfer to the base of your thumb. 


Stretch #1: Web Space Stretch

This stretch is going to help open up your thumb web space so you can reduce the load on your thumb.

First, try to spread your fingers and thumb open as far as you can go. Within your comfort level of course. 



For some of you, extending your thumb might be too sore, so in that case do not push to pain.

If you have limited motion you will want to slowly work on increasing your thumb flexibility first. 

Do not overdo this stretch. Torquing on your thumb web spaces will not feel good and is counterproductive. 

To do the stretch, open your fingers and thumbs on both hands. Push both of your thumb web spaces together. Relax your fingers. 



Hold this stretch for 10 seconds. 

Then extend your fingers and thumbs, trying to open up your web space a little bit more. 

Now push with a little more pressure into your web spaces. Again hold for 10 seconds.

Afterwards you should feel like you can go a little bit deeper into your web spaces. 

Let’s do that again.

To recap, push your web spaces together, relax your fingers. Hold for 10 seconds. Then straighten your fingers and thumb, push into your thumb web spaces for another 10 seconds.

Repeat for 5-10 repetitions, 1-2 times a day, or whenever you notice an increase in your thumb pain.


Stretch #2: Thumbs Down Stretch

This one is called a thumbs down stretch, not because it’s a bad stretch but because you are going to pull your thumbs downward towards the floor.

You will need adequate shoulder motion because you’re going to bring your hands behind your back.


Relieve thumb arthritis pain stretch demonstrated on RIGHT thumb behind back.


Gently pull downward on RIGHT thumb.


You can do this stretch in front of you. But I find it is more effective behind your back.

First, bring both hands behind your back. If your right thumb is painful then you want to grasp your right thumb, using your left hand. 

Make sure both arms are relaxed. Let gravity gently pull your arms down.

If that feels good for you, then that is your stretch!

If you want more, lightly pull downward and hold for 10 seconds. 

This provides traction to your arthritic thumb and increases joint space. 

Release and relax. 

Repeat again for another 10 seconds. 

The great thing is that these don’t even look like a stretch. You can relieve thumb arthritis pain while standing in line at the grocery store. 

To do this on your left hand, place both arms behind your back. Use your right hand to curl around your left thumb. 


Relieve thumb arthritis pain stretch demonstrated on LEFT thumb behind back.


Gently pull downward on LEFT thumb.


Remember shoulders and arms are nice and relaxed. You can rest your hands on your back or apply a gentle traction down towards the floor. Hold for 10 seconds.

Feel the release in your thumb…aaaahhhh. 

If you have a bum shoulder, or can’t reach your arms behind you, then do this stretch in front of your body.

This is done the exact same way. Extend both arms and hands in front of your body. Grasp your painful thumb with your other hand. Relax your arms and lightly pull your thumb down. 


Thumb arthritis pain relief stretch can be done in front of your body.


If you need a little more stretch, then pull your thumb towards the floor. Hold for 10 seconds. Repeat to your other thumb. 


My hope is these 2 stretches instantly relieve thumb arthritis pain for you. If you notice increased soreness, you may want to try only one stretch for now.

Fortunately, there is more you can do to manage your thumb arthritis. Thumb braces, kinesio tape, strengthening exercises, and joint protection techniques are just a few more treatments to prevent thumb pain from worsening.

Share this post with friends and family so you can help them find thumb pain relief too.