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Therapy putty thumb exercises

Therapy putty

Putty can be used to improve movement and strength of the hand, wrist and forearm. It can be formed into various shapes to complete exercises which will be tailored to you by your therapist. The putty must be used as shown. You will be provided with instructions about the number of times you need to complete each of the exercises. The putty is available in a range of colour-coded strengths which your therapists will explain to you. You will start with softer putty and work up to a stronger one, guided by your therapist.

Advice and precautions

  • Wash your hands before and after using the putty to keep it clean and maintain its strength.
  • Place the putty on a clean smooth surface when using.
  • When the putty is stretched too much, it can break down into small pieces. Care should be taken with these, as they can stick to carpets and clothing. To remove fine bits of putty from the surface you are using, dab the area with a large blob of putty.
  • If the putty becomes too warm or sticky, place the putty in its tub and put in the fridge.
  • Keep the putty in its tub when not in use.
  • Do not allow the putty to come into contact with rugs, fabric, hair or clothes as it can stain these materials.
  • Do not eat the putty or leave it near young children or pets.

1 Thumb pull

Thumb Pull









1a Roll the putty forwards and backwards to form a sausage shape. Start with your fingers together when rolling, then begin to spread them as you continue to roll.

1b Break the putty in half.

1c Wrap the putty over the tip of your thumb.

1d Hold the loose ends down with your fingers, then extend the thumb upwards with as much force as possible.

Repeat the exercise times, times daily.

2 Thumb press

Thumb press exercises








2a Roll the putty into a barrel shape.

2b Place it in the palm of the your hand.

2c Press your thumb deep into the putty with as much force as possible until it reaches the palm, then slowly lift your thumb out.

Repeat the exercise times, times daily.

3 Thumb squeeze

Thumb Squeeze








3a Roll the putty into a ball.

3b With your hand flat on the table, place the ball of putty in the space between your thumb and your index finger. Keeping your fingers still, press your thumb into your palm towards your index finger.

Repeat the exercise times, times daily.

4 Mini doughnut stretch









4a Roll a small amount of putty into a sausage shape.

4b Join the edges of the shape to form a doughnut.

4c Place the doughnut around your index finger and your thumb. Your thumb should be above the palm.

4d With your hand on the table and keeping your fingers still, move your thumb away from your fingers and your palm.

Repeat the exercise times, times daily.

5 Thumb roll









5a Roll the putty into a ball.

5b With your arm on the table and the palm of your hand facing upwards, place the putty in the palm of your hand.

5c Using your thumb, move the ball from left to right.

Repeat the exercise times, times daily.

6 Thumb roll









6a Roll the putty into a ball.

6b With your arm on the table and the palm of your hand facing upwards, place the putty in the palm of your hand.

6c Using your thumb, move the ball in a full circle. Complete this exercise clockwise, then in an anticlockwise direction.

Repeat the exercise times, times daily.


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Please note: this is a generic information sheet relating to care at Sheffield Children’s NHS FT. These details may not reflect treatment at other hospitals. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professionals’ instructions. If this resource relates to medicines, please read it alongside the medicine manufacturer’s patient information leaflet. If this information has been translated into another language from English, efforts have been made to maintain accuracy, but there may still be some translation errors. If you are unsure about any of the guidance in this resource or have specific questions about how it relates to your child, always ask your healthcare professional for further advice.

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Therapy Contact Number: 0114 2717148


Western Bank
S10 2TH

United Kingdom

Switchboard: 0114 271 7000

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