Physical therapy exercises for Mommy’s Thumb/Phone Thumb
“Mommy’s Thumb” (De Quervain’s tenosynovitis) is a common injury to parents with infants due to repetitive strain use of the thumb and wrist. Repetitive actions such as lifting your baby can aggravate the symptoms of Mommy’s Thumb.
Not surprisingly, the rising use of smartphones is also causing De Quervain’s tenosynovitis. U.S. smartphone penetration has exceeded 80% and mobile devices (smartphones and tablets) now represent 57% of U.S. internet traffic. As Nellie Bowles in the NY Times article “Me and My Numb Thumb: A Tale of Tech, Texts and Tendons” discovered, constant smartphone use can lead to debilitating pain in her thumb.
The Mayo Clinic identifies that people between the ages of 30 and 50 are more prone to developing De Quervain’s tenosynovitis resulting in adults experiencing technology related injuries more frequently than teenagers.
Michael Curtis, PT in his blog “Mommy’s Thumb: Treating and Preventing DeQuervain’s Tenosynovitis” recommends using a splint to allow the hand’s tendons to rest and heal. He also recommends a series of strengthening exercises as part of treating De Quervain’s tenosynovitis.
We’ve added his exercises into a Home Exercise Program (HEP) using the PT-Helper CONNECT platform and presented on the PT-Helper mobile app. These sample exercises can be quickly downloaded into the PT-Helper mobile app using
You can also find these exercises in the Finger and Hand category in the PT-Helper mobile app to add to your Favorites which allows you to customize each exercise’s repetitions, sets, and hold time.
Reminder: Please consult your physician before engaging in any physical activity and stop if you experience pain or discomfort.
- Thumb Extension with Rubber Band
- Thumb Abduction with Resistance Band
- Putty Squeeze
Rest your hand vertically on a table and wrap a rubber band around your thumb, index and middle finger. Raise your thumb up against the band and hold. Slowly return your thumb back to its starting position. Repeat.
Rest your hand palm up on a table and wrap a rubber band around your thumb, index and middle finger. Raise your thumb up vertically against the band and hold. Slowly return your thumb back to its starting position. Repeat.
Place a small amount of putty in the palm of your affected hand. Slowly squeeze the putty firmly. Reshape the putty. Repeat.
Start your Free 30-day Trial of the PT-Helper CONNECT tool for physical therapists and other therapy providers, so you too may create and prescribe Home Exercise Programs like the one shown above.
Click here to view Finger and Hand exercises currently available within the PT-Helper Exercise Library.