Thumb pain can be very disabling especially in the dominat hand as one can't hold things like pen, pencil, coffee cup etc making life miserable. There could be jus the pain in thumb region or it can also be associated with numbness and tingling sensation which indicates towards nerve involvment.
Causes of thumb pain:
There could be many causes of thumb pain but the most common are as follows
1. Pain at the base of thumb with or without grinding sensation is due to arthritis at the joint which is at the base of thumb. It is a very common condition and it could be very disabling and in some cases patients do need to get the surgery to relieve symptoms.
2. Pain on the back of thumb especially with movment is caused by the swelling/ inflammation of tendons crossing the wrist and can be very disabling and somehow is more prominant in women with 3:1 ratio.
3. often thumb pain is also associated with numbness and tingling in thumb and adjacent fingers which could be due to compression of median nerve at wrist resulting in carpal tunnel syndrome. This condition is very common with in pregnancy as hormonal changes and fluid retention causes pressure in the wrist compressing the nerve resulting in pain.
4. There can be clicking in the thumb associated with feeling of thumb getting stuck ( trigger thumb). Early onset can be treated with splinting and physical modalities along with cortisone injection. In some cases patient might have to go for trigger thumb release.
Most of these conditions needs to be evaluated by a skilled therapist who can differentiate b/w kind of pains, evaluate the structures involved and design a proper treatment plan which could prevent the need for surgery.
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