Thumbs are such wonderful things we generally just take them for granted. When your thumb hurts is when you really notice just how much you use it. There are many conditions that can cause thumb pain. This blog will highlight some of the most common problems and help to answer the question- My thumb hurts – what’s wrong?
While this information can be used to help narrow down what the problem might be, it is strongly recommended that you seek the advice of a doctor or therapist before beginning any treatment. Treating your symptoms with the wrong diagnosis can not only delay proper treatment, it may also make your condition worse.
Four common conditions that can cause thumb pain are:
- CMC Thumb Arthritis
- de Quervain’s Tenosynovitis
- Gamekeeper’s or Skier’s Thumb
- Trigger Thumb
The following chart can help to lead you to what might be the cause of your thumb pain. Answer the “Where does it hurt?” question in the chart to see what might be the cause of your thumb pain.
Where Does It Hurt?
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|At the base of the thumb where the thumb meets the wrist. Painful when pinching or gripping, especially holding small objects like pens or tool handles.||CMC Thumb Arthritis: arthritis of the base of the thumb that provides your thumbs mobility|
|Along the side of the thumb when moving it into the hitchhiker position or when bending the hand towards the little finger. Pain may “shoot” along the thumb side of your forearm.||de Quervain’s Tenosynovitis: inflammation and tightening of the tendons that extend your thumb|
|Pain in the middle joint of your thumb where it attaches to your hand. Difficulty grasping or holding objects. Pinching is painful and hard to do.||Gamekeeper’s or Skier’s Thumb: injury to the ligament that stabilizes your thumb so you can pinch and grip||
|A “popping” pain when bending or straightening the end of your thumb. Thumb sticks in a bent position and has to be pulled straight.||Trigger Thumb: narrowing of the tendon covering or a bump on your tendon that limits motion|
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