Tendon Gliding

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Written by: Jason Smith, Registered Physiotherapist, MSc(PT), CSEP-CPT, CIDN, FCAMPT


Tendon gliding is designed to slowly slide our tendons through our carpal tunnel, like pieces of floss through teeth. The carpal tunnel is JAM-PACKED full of wrist and finger tendons (9 to be precise) PLUS the median nerve that supplies some integral hand muscles and sensations.

The point is, it’s a very small tunnel with lots of things in it, and those things tend to bind, friction, and fibrose if they’re not moved often enough through fuller ranges of motion. This can lead to wrist pain, decreased grip strength, and in bad cases, loss of sensation and muscular atrophy.

Add to this that these finger flexor tendons in climbers tend to hypertrophy the longer we’ve been climbing and the more load we apply to them (less space still!) . 

Do yourselves a favour and make these a part of your cool-down. 

Exercise: . Hold each position for 5 seconds, reaching fully into the end ranges of your ability. Repeat 5 times, frequently throughout the day to enhance mobility. Add slight wrist extension to challenge your mobility further. 

1. High 5 

2. Hook Fist 

3. Duck 🦆 

4. Straight Fist 

5. Closed Fist

Jason Smith GRSM Kitchener-South Physiotherapist
Registered Physiotherapist

Jay graduated from McMaster University in 2011 with a Masters of Physiotherapy. His previous education includes a Bachelor of Arts in Kinesiology in 2009 from Western University. Jason has obtained his FCAMPT (Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Manipulative Physiotherapy) designation. This designation is internationally recognized, and follows a comprehensive post-graduate training program that solidifies manual therapy skills, teaches advanced clinical reasoning, and allows him to perform spinal manipulation. Jay is also certified in Integrative Dry Needling, which he uses to release muscular restrictions throughout in the body. Jay is also a Certified Personal Trainer with the Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology (CSEP-CPT). He enjoys working with high level athletes, especially towards the later stages of their rehab as they approach return to sport. In addition to this, Jay is a certified Sport First Responder, and former team physiotherapist for the Guelph Gryphon’s Men’s Varsity Rugby team. Jay is also certified in ImPACT Concussion Management, and is a Functional Movement Screen (FMS) Specialist.

In his spare time, Jay enjoys rock climbing, mountain biking, hiking, camping, and spending time with friends and family.

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