Did Pain Come After A Fall Or Out Of The Blue
In some cases, the reason for your pain is obvious maybe youve worked in the garden for several hours or had a bad fall. In others, pain seems to come out of the blue.
You may develop pain from infection, inflammation or an underlying metabolic issue like gout or diabetes-related neuropathy, Dr. Seitz says. Also, the pain may be unrelated to your arm for example, a pinched nerve in the neck can cause pain anywhere throughout the arm.
Your activity level and the wear and tear on your body can also factor in, especially with joint pain or various forms of tendinitis. If youre highly active, you can typically expect some pain in your joints as you get older.
Mileage plays a role, notes Dr. Seitz. However, you shouldnt expect pain just because youre aging it may never develop.
When To Contact A Doctor
People should contact a doctor if their thumb pain is persistent, severe, or impacts their ability to perform daily tasks and activities.
People should seek immediate medical attention if they believe they may have dislocated or fractured their thumb. Some signs to look out for include:
- inability to move the thumb
- swelling or warmth in or around the thumb
- a thumb that appears crooked or feels unstable
To diagnose the underlying cause of thumb pain, a doctor will conduct a physical examination and ask about potential causes. If the cause of the pain is unclear, the doctor may order imaging tests, such as an X-ray, MRI, or ultrasound.
How To Assess Your Pain
Health professionals determine which people need urgent medical care using a process known as triage. You can apply the same technique at home.
Dr. Seitz says if something is seriously wrong, youll know it. A wrist fracture, for instance, will cause pain you cant ignore. When the pain is so bad you cant move past it, call your doctor or head to the emergency department, he advises.
If you dont have that level of pain, then listen to your body. Take a moment to consider why you might be feeling pain and what it can tell you. Dr. Seitz suggests asking yourself these questions to decide what to do for your hand, wrist or elbow pain:
- Does it hurt if you press on it?
- Is it inflamed ?
- Is it swollen or stiff?
- How would you rate your pain on a scale from 1 to 10 ?
If your answers to the first three questions are yes, or if your pain level is in the upper half of the pain scale , then its time to call the doctor, says Dr. Seitz. If you answer no to the first three questions and rate your pain at a 1 through 3, you can start with treatment at home.
Read Also: Arm Pain On Inside Of Elbow
Thumb And Finger Lift
Strengthening the individual digits of the hand can help to target problem areas, such as the thumb. For this exercise, all a person requires is a flat surface.
- place both hands flat on a surface
- raise both thumbs slowly while keeping all other fingers flat
- bring the thumb back down
- repeat this for each finger of the hand
- repeat as neccesary
Symptoms Of De Quervain’s Tendonitis
Tendons normally slide through a flexible tunnel, called a sheath, to connect and support the thumb. When the tendons swell or the sheath thickens because of pressure or inflammation, you may notice that your the inside of your wrist or your thumb hurts. This condition may happen because of repetitive activities like playing racket sports or golf, engaging in handicrafts, or lifting children.
Recommended Reading: Kinetic Tape For Knee Pain
What Is Wrist Tendinitis
Wrist tendinitis is inflammation in the tough tissues of your wrist that connect the muscles of your forearm to bones in your hand. There are about six tendons in your wrist that help you control your wrist, hand and fingers. Irritation and wrist pain can affect any of these tendons if you overuse them or sustain an injury such as a sprain.
One of the most common forms of wrist tendonitis is de Quervains tendinitis. It affects the tendons near your thumb. You can also get ulnar tendinitis, which is irritation of the tendons on the pinkie side of your hand.
How Is Wrist Tendinitis Treated
Most people find relief from wrist tendon pain with a combination of conservative treatments. Your healthcare provider may recommend:
- Medication:Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs can reduce pain and inflammation. In some cases, your healthcare provider may recommend steroid injections in your wrist or near your finger joints.
- Physical or occupational therapy: Therapists can help you regain strength, mobility and range of motion in your wrist and fingers. They can also show you how to do everyday movements, such as typing or lifting objects, with less wrist pain.
- Rest: The most important treatment for wrist tendinitis is usually rest. Never push through wrist pain try to avoid typing, lifting heavy items and rotating your wrist so your tendons can heal.
- RICE method: At-home treatments such as rest, ice, compression and elevation can help minimize wrist swelling and pain. You can ice your wrist for about 20 minutes every two hours while keeping it elevated above the level of your heart. Be sure to place a towel between the ice and your skin to prevent any injuries to your skin.
- Splinting: A splint is a supportive device that stabilizes and immobilizes your wrist and sometimes your fingers. Your healthcare provider may recommend a custom splint, or you can use an off-the-shelf one.
Recommended Reading: Pinched Nerve Under Shoulder Blade
Thumb Tendonitis Symptoms & Treatment
Thumb tendonitis causes pain in tendons around the base of the thumb, on the inside of the wrist and forearm. Some doctors call it De Quervains tendinosis. Both terms refer to inflammation along the thumb.
De Quervains affects the thumbs tendons cords of tissue that connect muscles and bones. When the tendons around the base of the thumb are irritated or constricted, they swell. This thumb swelling can cause pain, tenderness and weakness in the hand.
Sometimes people call De Quervains mommy thumb, because new mothers can strain their thumbs from lifting their newborns repeatedly. Just as often, people experience De Quervain syndrome after helping someone move on the weekend.
Treatment for De Quervains ranges from splints and steroids to minimally invasive surgery. At Aurora Health Care, we can help you find the right treatment option so you can get relief and get back to your life.
Broken Or Fractured Thumb
In some cases, a bone within the thumb may break. These injuries cause intense pain that starts at the site of the damaged bone and can radiate through the wrist and forearm.
The bone from the tip of the thumb to the knuckle is known as the distal phalange. This connects to the proximal phalange, which extends to the base of the thumb. Within the hand, the proximal phalange connects to the first metacarpal, which extends to the base of the hand.
Depending on the type of thumb fracture and its location, the thumb may also become unstable. It may move loosely from side to side.
When it occurs
Bones in the thumb may break due to impact injuries or excessive stress. Common causes include:
- falling and landing onto the thumb
- bending the thumb too far back
- twist the thumb excessively
- blunt trauma to the thumb
If the bone fragments remain close to the break, a temporary cast may be enough to hold the fragments in place. A broken thumb may heal within 28 weeks. However, it may take longer after surgery or if the bone fragments have not shifted much from their normal positions.
During this time, a person may require regular X-rays to check that the bones remain properly aligned.
If the bone fragments have drifted far from the break, a person may require surgery to realign the fragments. A surgeon may use wire, pins, or screws to hold the fragments together while the bone heals.
You May Like: Off The Shoulder Puff Sleeve Top
Muscle Strains And Ligament Sprains
Muscle strains and ligament sprains are yet another cause of pain, and they can frequently happen in your thumb, finger and wrist, leading to pain throughout your whole hand. Sprains are usually the result of an injury, stretching or tearing ligaments within a joint. Chances are, youll be able to recognize it after a fall or accident, but youll want to check with a healthcare provider to make sure there arent any fractures.
Arthritis In Your Hand And Wrist
Arthritis is another possibility, as its common for types of arthritis to affect the fingers and hand. Two types of arthritis, in particular, are common culprits of this kind of joint pain: osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Osteoarthritis is more common and caused by wear and tear on your joints, breaking down cartilage in your joints over time. Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic autoimmune condition in which an overactive immune system causes inflammation and, ultimately, cartilage degeneration in your joints.
Don’t Miss: Peep Toe Over The Knee Boots
Whats The Prognosis For People With Wrist Tendinitis
Most people respond very well to treatment and dont have long-term wrist damage or pain. After your wrist heals, physical therapy or occupational therapy can help you improve strength and mobility in your wrist. Therapists can also show you how to continue doing the activities you enjoy with less strain on your wrists.
After you have a tendon injury, youre more likely to injure the tendon again. Be especially careful to protect your wrists when playing sports or performing repetitive movements. Most importantly, dont push through pain. Pain is your bodys way of speaking to you, and you should listen to it.
What Causes De Quervain’s
Doctors arent completely sure what causes De Quervain’s tenosynovitis. Overuse is the likeliest cause. Inflammation can arise from repeated hand and thumb motions like lifting with the thumb up, squeezing, pinching, gripping and wringing.
Scar tissue from an injury or surgery may narrow the tendons tunnel, increasing the risk of thumb tendonitis. Inflammatory diseases like rheumatoid arthritis could also be a cause.
You May Like: Why Does My Wrist Hurt When I Bend It
When To See A Doctor
You should seek medical help immediately if you believe you have broken a bone in your thumb, your wrist, or any part of your hand. If you cannot move your thumb, or if it appears crooked after an injury, you should also seek emergency care.
If your symptoms are recurrent pain in your joints, knuckles, and wrist, you may have an underlying condition such as carpal tunnel syndrome or basal joint arthritis.
If you have joint pain that limits your daily activities, notice a decrease in your joint mobility, have trouble gripping objects, or live with pain that spikes each morning when you get out of bed, see your doctor to talk about your symptoms.
What Is Mommy Thumb And How Can It Be Prevented
As a new mom, youre probably running on little or no sleep. Youre also likely sore and trying to understand if changes to your body are permanent or temporary. One area in which you might notice discomfort is your wrist. Known as Mommy Thumb or Mommy Thumb, this condition develops due to repetitive awkward movements when you pick up, hold, or nurse your newborn. Thankfully, even if you suffer from this condition, specific treatments and exercises can help you regain pain-free use of your wrist and thumb. You can also learn how to prevent a reoccurrence of the issue.
You May Like: Best Neck And Shoulder Massager
What Are The Causes Of Wrist Tendonitis
When the tendons of the wrist are working properly, they slide in a sheath lined with synovial fluid to create frictionless movement. Injury or inflammation of the tendon can cause the sheath to thicken, enlarging it and restricting the fluidity of movement.
The most common cause of this inflammation is usually simple, repetitive motion that puts stress on the tendon over time.
In fact, wrist tendonitis is usually described as a repetitive strain injury because its frequently triggered by common everyday activities such as:
- working physically
While repetitive daily motions are the most common culprit for wrist tendonitis, this condition can also be caused by injuries and lifestyle habits. Some of these causes include:
- poorly positioned joints or bones
- weak wrist posture
- age and/or flexibility
Its important not to confuse wrist tendonitis with arthritis of the wrist or carpal tunnel. One may aggravate the other, but they are different conditions:
- Arthritis is an inflammation of the joint.
- Carpal tunnel is caused by compression of a nerve.
- Tendonitis is an inflammation of the tendon.
Your doctor has a variety of options to choose from when determining how best to treat your wrist tendonitis. Common treatments include:
In more extreme cases, surgery can increase the space between tendons, but this solution is rarely needed.
You can connect to a primary care doctor in your area using the Healthline FindCare tool.
Signs Of De Quervain’s Tendonitis
The universal symptom of De Quervains tenosynovitis is pain on the thumb side of the wrist, which sometimes extends up the forearm.
If you have thumb tendonitis from De Quervains, you may also notice:
- Swelling on the thumb side of the wrist
- A catching or snapping feeling when you move the thumb
- Thumb and wrist stiffness
- Thumb pain or weakness and trouble lifting things even a coffee cup
Eventually, you may notice a squeaking or snapping noise as the tendons move through the narrowed tunnel.
Also Check: Above The Knee Shorts Men
Avoid Tasks That Make The Pain Worse
Try to avoid tasks that are causing the pain or making it worse. This may be anything that has a repetitive nature, such as using a screwdriver, painting or lifting heavy objects. You might be able to change the way you do some tasks to take the strain off your hands and wrists. Some conditions affecting the hand and wrist wont get better until you stop doing certain tasks.
What Are Some Symptoms Of Mommy Thumb
If youre experiencing pain in your thumb or wrist, you might wonder if its a sign of Mommy Thumb or another more serious issue. Some of the symptoms of this condition include the following:
- Tingling found at the top of your hand.
- Squeaking from tendons in your wrist.
- Popping or catching sensations when you move your thumb.
- Swelling at the base of your thumb or wrist.
- Intensifying pain when you constantly use your thumb.
Read Also: Tennis Elbow Rice Rest Ice Compression Elevation
Diy Care For Hand Wrist Or Elbow Pain
If your symptoms arent serious, start by reducing the pain. Dr. Seitz suggests the following steps:
- Apply ice to the painful area or heat .
- Take over-the-counter pain medication like ibuprofen or acetaminophen.
- Use a stretchy elastic bandage or another compression device to wrap the painful or swollen area.
If you can tie your pain to overexertion, or if you think it stems from repetitive motion , take a break from that activity. Give your body a rest.
Keeping Your Hands And Wrists Moving
Moving your hands, wrists and fingers as much as possible can help ease pain and stiffness. This will also maintain range of movement, function and strength.
We have some exercises you can do at home. Try to do them as regularly as you can, especially if your hands and wrists are feeling stiff.
If you have carpal tunnel syndrome, talk to a physiotherapist, GP or hand therapist for specific advice on exercise.
Recommended Reading: How Long Knee Replacement Surgery
How Is De Quervain’s Diagnosed
To check for De Quervain’s tenosynovitis, your doctor will probably ask you to do a simple in-office check called the Finkelstein test.
To complete the Finkelstein test, youll:
- Bend your thumb in against your palm
- Close your fingers over your thumb to make a fist
- Bend your wrist sideways, toward your little finger and the floor
If De Quervains is the cause, youll feel tendon pain on the thumb side of the wrist during this test.
How Are The Hands And Wrists Structured
There are 27 small bones that make up each hand and wrist. Eight of those bones are in your wrist. Each finger has three bones, and the thumb has two. There are five bones in the palm of your hand, connecting each finger and the thumb with the wrist.
There are more than 30 muscles that control the hand and wrist. These are in your hands, wrists and forearms.
Muscles are attached to bones by tendons. These are small but very tough pieces of connective tissue. Tendons pass through a bony passage in your wrist, known as the carpal tunnel. The median nerve also passes through this tunnel.
Don’t Miss: Elbow Straps For Tennis Elbow
Pain Is The Main Symptom Of De Quervains Disease
Intense stabbing pain between the thumb and wrist is the hallmark symptom of De Quervains disease.
The pain may have a gradual or sudden onset and in some cases radiate to the forearm there may also be swelling in the wrist.
Repeated use of the hand and of the thumb in particular accentuates the pain, especially in movements requiring rotation of the wrist, such as opening a jar, or when grasping objects such as a bottle or a pot.
This is particularly true for those who make forced or repetitive movements with the wrist, such as: musicians those who embroider and sew a lot those who assiduously use the computer mouse, keyboard and mobile phone mothers who breastfeed, especially in the last period when the baby becomes heavy and supporting the head requires a great deal of effort from the tendons affected by this disease.
At the time of De Quervain, the Swiss surgeon who first described this disease, it was known as the disease of nannies and embroiderers.