A hand therapist (physiotherapist) at The Hands Physio uses stretches to:
- release tight muscles and tendons
- alleviate tension in muscle and tendons
- improve range of motion
- reduce swelling
- alleviate pain
- release joints
Stretching is extremely beneficial for our joints, muscles and tendons. Not only do they help prepare your body work/exercises they ensure you are working at your optimum energy efficiency. A short or tight muscle has to work harder to produce the same energy output as a muscle working at the desired length. This affects the muscle endurance and ultimately its strength.
Injured muscles and tendons also shorten or contract to protect themselves from further damage. They are also mechanically compromised by the chemicals – swelling that builds up in injured tissues. Stretching helps to alleviate this. Stretches are held for progressively longer time frames (pain free) up to two minutes to get adequate tissue adaptation. They need to be performed regularly and correctly to be most beneficial. Our hand therapists provide photographs and video demonstrations of the stretches to ensure you can do them correctly at home.
Prolonged stretches, held for up to 15 minutes are also taught - especially for tight or contracted joints. These are done to help regain range of motion of the joint. Heat is also used to encourage tissue deformation of the joint capsule or tight muscle/tendon. Stretches are also thought to help stimulate tendon cell growth in a damaged tendon.
Our hand therapists (physiotherapists) also use stretches in a technique called contract relax (CR) stretches. This uses the stretch reflex to help gain correct muscle and tendon length.