Did you know there is a small muscle in your hand that can have a big impact on your thumb arthritis pain?

This little muscle is called your Adductor Pollicis. We’ll just call it AP for short.

Typically very strong, this muscle does a great job helping you hold objects in your hand. 

However, as your thumb arthritis progressively worsens, there becomes an imbalance and laxity of your thumb tendons, muscles, and ligaments. Unfortunately, your AP muscle overpowers and starts pulling your thumb into your palm.

Eventually, this causes narrowing of your palm and a loss of your thumb web space. Making things like grasping large objects such as bowls or cups very difficult to do.

Stretch not strengthen

In this blog post, I’m going to demonstrate how to target your tight AP muscle with 3 thumb stretches for thumb arthritis pain. 

Stretching will increase your thumb range of motion and in turn, you’ll find thumb arthritis pain relief.

If you prefer a follow along video, you can watch Top 3 Thumb Stretches for Thumb Arthritis Pain from my YouTube channel here:

Equipment for thumb stretches for thumb arthritis pain

You will need a small firm ball such as this Yoga Therapy Ball. A lacrosse ball or tennis ball may work. 

Yoga therapy balls

Keep in mind, the yoga therapy ball is smaller in diameter. If you have smaller hands, this may feel more comfortable.

And you’ll need a chip clip, or acupressure clip, and a massage tool. The soft end of a marker or pencil will also work.

These chip clips come recommended by one of my clients who says they are the perfect amount of pressure. 

Let’s get into these exercises!

Thumb Exercise #1: Web Space Stretch

This exercise works both hands at the same time. You will not need any equipment for this one. 

But for comfort, you can rest your arms on a table, or use a pillow for support. 

To perform this stretch, you will need to spread your fingers and thumbs out as far as you can. 

If one thumb doesn’t go as far as the other, just do what you can. Do not overstretch or use your other hand to help. 

Next, meet your thumb web spaces together, gently massaging and pushing into that space.

Then relax your fingers and thumbs while holding the stretch for 30 seconds to 1 minute. 

This exercise provides a low load stretch to the web space, which is less aggravating to your thumb. 

Repeat this exercise for 1-3 minute long holds, 3-5 repetitions, 1-2 times a day or as needed for pain relief. 


Thumb Exercise #2: Ball Massage

For this exercise, you’ll need a ball and a massage tool, pencil, or a highlighter. I like using a Gua Sha tool. Start by opening your thumb web space as much as you can. Wrap your hand and thumb around the ball, exposing your tight AP muscle.

Rest the small finger side of your hand down on a table. Your thumb web space should be on top of the ball. 

Next, use your massage tool, or pencil, to gently massage your thumb web space, going in circular motions in both directions. 

Spend a few seconds massaging, then lightly stretch your thumb around the ball more. This exposes more of your AP muscle. 

Do not overstretch!

Repeat this exercise for 1-3 minutes, 3-5 repetitions, 1-2 times a day or as needed for pain relief. 


Thumb Exercise #3: Web Space Pressure Release

For this last exercise, you’ll need a chip clip or a pressure point clip. These chip clips come recommended by one of my clients who says they are the perfect amount of pressure. 

Start by opening your thumb up as wide as you can. Apply the clip deep down into your thumb Adductor Pollicis muscle.

Thumb stretches with chip clip on adductor pollicis muscle

Then, relax! Let the clip do the work.

The light pressure will help release tension to your muscle while keeping your thumb web space open. 

Hold this for 1-3 minutes and do 3-5 repetitions, 1-2 times a day or as needed for pain relief. 

Well, how did these thumb stretches for thumb arthritis pain feel?

It may take several weeks to months to feel the true results of these stretches. Remember, it took several years to develop tight muscles and thumb arthritis pain. 

With consistency, these 3 thumb web space stretches can increase your thumb range of motion and alleviate pain caused by thumb arthritis. 

Just try them out, and give them a shot. If these feel good, you may be ready to start strengthening your thumb. But first, find out what the worst exercise for thumb arthritis is (in my opinion of course), and what to do instead.

New Thumb Arthritis Training Program Can Help

Now, if you like these stretches and want to try alternative solutions that don’t require pills or needles, then consider joining my Thumb arthritis training program:

30 Day Thumbs: Build Thumb Stability, Preserve Joint Health, and Win Back Your Favorite Hobbies in 4 weeks

30 Day thumbs is a Turn-key progressive exercise program created to stop thumb arthritis pain, prevent future flare ups, preserve joint health, and boost dynamic stability for optimal thumb use. 

Over a course of 4 weeks, I will coach you through a series of stretches and exercises designed to build healthy, sustainable thumbs, while also teaching you lifestyle modifications to achieve long term pain relief.

I have made it easy for you by laying out the EXACT stretches and stability exercises to perform each and everyday. Taking you only 5-10 minutes total to complete.

At the beginning of each week, I will also host a LIVE video demonstration of the exercises to make sure you are doing them correctly AND effectively.

And as a bonus, you will also receive my Thumbs Up Tool Kit- full of resources, guides, and educational tips to help you navigate all THUMB related products such as gloves, braces, gadgets, hot packs, and more.

Not to mention, you can complete the program anywhere and minimal equipment is required.

BUT since no 2 thumbs are alike, and you can’t undo years of wear and tear, this program can be adapted to suit you, whether you need to take a little more time or want to make it a little less intense.

Click here to see what others have to say about this amazing program!