The adductor pollicis muscle contributes to pain in the thumb, thumb pad, and inside of the wrist.

Adductor Pollicis Muscle Pain: Signs and Symptoms

  • 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 a bone of the middle finger to a bone in 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 and fingers 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
Adductor Pollicis Muscle

You use the opponens pollicis muscle when you bend your thumb and move it in toward the palm of the hand.

Interesting facts about the adductor pollicis muscles:

It is one of the muscles found in the web of the thumb.

Adductor Pollicis Muscle Dysfuntion Pain and Symptoms Can Be Similar To and Contribute To These Medical Diagnosis:

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

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

Satellite Trigger Points Associated With The Opponens Pollicis:

  • Flexor Pollicis Brevis
  • Abductor Pollicis Brevis
  • Dorsal Interosseus

For detailed anatomy information: Adductor Pollicis Anatomy

Help with Adductor Pollicis Muscle Thumb Pain

Cold Therapy Treatment For Pain In The Thumb and Thumb Pad

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.

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. Though it does not cover the thumb, it treats the adductor pollicis muscle which will help relieve discomfort in the thumb. 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 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.

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.

This 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.

Compression Gloves For Support, Warmth and Pain Relief

Whether the pain in your hands is caused by a muscle injury or arthritis, compression has been shown to help with pain relief. The Imak Compression Arthritis Gloves are some of the best on the market.

The gloves provide gentle compression which helps decrease both pain relief and inflammation. The seams of the gloves are sewn to the outside so you will not have irritation or discomfort. The fingers opening are reinforced so that they will not fray with wear or during washing. I like this particular brand because the gloves are easier to get on and off than most other compression gloves. Reasonably priced too!

To determine your size measure straight across the widest part of your palm. Extra small: up to 2 3/4 inches wide. Small: up to 3 1/8 inches across. Medium: up to 3 1/2 inches across. Large: up to 4 inches across. Extra large: up to 4 1/2 inches across.

Hand Exercise Kit To Reduce Pain, Restore Mobility And Increase Strength

The Gaiam Restore Hand Therapy Kit is a must have for anyone experiencing hand pain and stiffness. If your hands are stiff and painful gripping objects is painful making everyday tasks difficult. The kit comes with instructions and exercises that will help you reduce pain, regain mobility and strengthen the muscles in your hand. I use this kit and the exercises nearly everyday to help keep my hands limber and pain free.

Self Treatment Help For Adductor Pollicis Muscle Pain

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 thumb 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. 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.

Donna Martin

Massage Therapist Owner: Twelve years of experience working with clients with chronic pain, post injury pain, and post surgery pain. Muscle dysfunction is often overlooked but can hold the key to many pain conditions.

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