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Adductor Pollicis Muscle: Thumb Pad and Thumb Pain

What pain and symptoms are associated with the Adductor Pollicis muscle?

Pain Pattern of the adductor pollicis muscle

You use the adductor pollicis muscle to pull the thumb toward the palm and bend the thumb.

  • Pain is felt at the base of the thumb that extends into the thumb
  • Pinching using the thumb and fingers is painful
  • Gripping objects such as pens, pencils, needles for hand sewing or knitting between the thumb and fingers causes pain and discomfort

Where is the Adductor Pollicis muscle located?

  • The adductor pollicis muscle connects bones in the second and third fingers to a bone at the base of the thumb

What movements do the Adductor Pollicis control?

  • Pulls the thumb inward toward the palm of the hand
  • Helps bend the thumb

Activities that cause adductor pollicis muscle pain and symptoms:

  • Activities that require constant use of the thumb in a pincher motion
  • Activities that require constant downward pressure using the thumb ie massage therapist
  • Extended periods of knitting, crocheting, or hand sewing
  • Extended periods of writing with a pen or pencil
  • Artistic painting
  • Playing musical instruments such as the violin, cello and guitar
  • Pulling weeds

Interesting facts about the adductor pollicis muscles:

  • Is one of the muscles found in the web of the thumb.

Clinical diagnoses to which the adductor pollicis muscle symptoms may contribute:

  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • C6  radiculopathy
  • Ganglion cyst
  • Dupuytren’s contracture
  • De Quervain’s stenosing tenosynovitis
  • Carpometacarpal dysfunction


Adductor Pollicis Muscle in the Hand

You use the adductor pollicis muscle to pull the thumb in toward the palm and to bend the thumb.

Other muscles that should be considered and examined in conjunction with the adductor pollicis muscle:

Satellite Trigger Points: Flexor Pollicis Brevis, Abductor Pollicis Brevis, Dorsal Interosseus

For detailed anatomy information see: Adductor Pollicis Anatomy


Help with Adductor Pollicis Muscle Thumb Pain

Cold Therapy Treatment For Pain In The Thumb and Thumb Pad

Biofreeze is recommended for recent muscle injury Biofreeze Pain Relieving Gel is a cold therapy gel that provides pain relieve for new injuries and is great as a maintenance treatment for over use injuries.  Cold therapy should be used on new and recent injuries instead of heat as it cools the area much like ice and does not promote swelling. A recent study showed that Biofreeze decreased pain 2 times more than ice and the pain relief lasts 9 – 10 times longer. If you have recently injured the adductor pollicis muscle or have unexplained pain that has started in the thumb pad extending up into the thumb, use Biofreeze. Rub the gel into the front and back of the thumb pad and thumb for pain relief.

Ice wrap for wrist injury and pain.

 Wrist Ice Wrap For Cold Treatment and Compression

The Pro Ice Wrist Wrap is a good choice for adductor pollicis pain and injury. I like this wrap because it not only provides cold therapy but also adjustable compression which helps relieve pain and swelling. For additional pain relief rub the area with BioFreeze five minutes before applying the wrap for extended treatment and pain relief.

Warm Therapy for Post Injury and Chronic Wrist / Thumb Pain

Sombra Warm Therapy Gel provides pain relief. Sombra Warm Therapy Pain Relieving Gel is a pain relieving gel that I use both personally and professionally in my massage therapy practice. It provides warmth without burning heat like other over the counter heating creams and gels.  It works well for post injury pain and stiffness. It is great for chronic arthritis pain as it can be applied several times a day. Apply Sombra to the inside and outside of the pad of the thumb and thumb to ease the pain. NOTE: Do not use Sombra Warming Gel when using ice packs or heat packs as there is a risk of blistering the skin. For the most effective treatment, apply 5 to 10 minutes before putting on a brace or sleeve.


Wrist and Thumb Support For Pain Relief

If the pain in the thumb especially around the thumb joints is  unrelenting and you need relieve, I recommend that you try the Mueller Thumb Stabilizer.

wrist-thumb-braceThis brace not only provides support to the wrist, but also keeps the thumb stable.  I like this particular brace because it provides support at the base of the thumb, and the joint in the thumb. The brace is lightweight, breathable, fully adjustable for compression and can be used for either hand. Highly recommended for those who use the thumb and fingers in a pinching type motion regularly. Keep it on hand (pun intended) for those times when you need support and pain relief.

Self Treatment Help For Adductor Pollicis Muscle Pain

The Trigger Point Workbook can help you resolve muscle pain throughout your body. Do you know that trigger points or other dysfunction in the adductor pollicis muscle can cause pain in and around the base of the thumb?  Dysfunction in this muscle can make holding and picking up objects between the thumb and fingers very painful.

The Trigger Point Therapy Workbook: Your Self-Treatment Guide for Pain Relief can help you treat this wrist and thumb pain by teaching you the techniques to find and eliminate trigger points. Author Clair Davies explains the trigger point phenomenon and muscle pain in everyday language.  But what makes this book worth its weight in gold are the individual muscle trigger point treatments that Davies has compiled. His diagrams and step by step instructions help you locate which muscles are contributing to your pain,  how to find the trigger point and treat it. He also provides stretching and strengthening exercises for each muscle. It takes time and practice to master finding trigger points, but once you learn you have a tool and method to help relieve muscle pain throughout the body. If you are suffering from pain in and around thumb  treating the trigger points in the adductor pollicis muscle of the hand can help reduce or eliminate you pain.  This book is a must have for anyone interested in finding the cause and treating muscle pain.