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 Cool hand/finger stretching routine 
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Post Re: Cool hand/finger stretching routine
pcgonzales wrote:
ArmyDoc wrote:
It changed how I rehab my patients. I now use more active movement and less static stretching. And when I do use stretches I have them do them after warm up and I focus on more gentle / less forceful stretches.


Can you please explain what you mean by "Active movement" I think I get what you mean by static stretching but not sure what an active movement would be that is in between stretching and normal activity ie.. playing guitar/Stick what have you?


Ok. There are two basic types of movement - active and passive. If I hold my hand up, and use the muscles of that arm to move my fingers without touching it with my other hand, that's active movement. In other words, the muscles that normally move the fingers are being used to move the fingers actively.

Passive movement is where I move the fingers of my hands by using my other hands, or by someone else moving them by applying an external force. In other words, the fingers play a passive role, rather than an active one.

So most of the exercises we think of as stretching are passive. Think of touching your toes - you are letting your body weight flex your hips and stretch your hamstrings. But have you ever seen a place kicker warming up? They kick their leg up actively - not full force, but with the same type of motion as if they were going to kick a ball.

The theory is when you passively stretch out your muscle, the muscle is actually being torn - small micro tears because it has no signal to tell it to relax, so it resists stretching. But with active movements, the reflex that tells the muscles being fired to flex the hips also sends a signal to the hamstrings to relax. So there isn't the damage and the muscles are gradually elongated. Obviously these active movements could be over done, and too much force applied in the active motion could still result in a tear.

To add a little more confusion to the picture, ligaments aren't the same as muscles. Ligaments go from bone to bone, with no contractile element. Ligaments probably respond to passive stretching quite well, so long as the force applied is not enough to damage them.

So for finger stretching passive stretching can be a good thing. But lets consider your index finger. Lets say it is tight and you want to work on extending it back wards. If you extend your finger while extending your wrist, your going to be pulling on the flexor tendons - you'll feel it pulling in your forearm. This is probably not the optimal way to stretch. It's passive stretching of the muscle/tendon unit.

If on the other hand, you flex your wrist, and then stretch your index back, the tendon is relaxed and what you are stretching is the ligaments of the joints of the finger. It's still passive stretching, but it is to the ligaments, not the muscle/tendon unit. This is probably beneficial.

Hopefully that's at least somewhat clearer than mud...

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Fri Jun 17, 2016 2:14 pm
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Post Re: Cool hand/finger stretching routine
ArmyDoc wrote:
pcgonzales wrote:
ArmyDoc wrote:

Hopefully that's at least somewhat clearer than mud...


Great Stuff Doc, Thanks!!!


Fri Jun 17, 2016 2:32 pm
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