Have you ever thought about your thumbs? I mean, really thought about them? Thumbs are the shortest “digit” on your hand, but they have more muscles than any of your fingers. Your thumb can also rotate and move in more directions because of the unique joint (CMC joint) at its base.
Without your thumb- cutting things, buttoning a shirt, zipping your jacket and locking a door with a key would be virtually impossible. Therefore, it’s important to do everything possible to minimize damage to your thumb from over or incorrect use.
Here are a few examples of activities that can cause pain and stress to your thumb and should be avoided:
- Activities that require a lot of thumb strength such as opening a jar with your bare hand. Use aids like a jar opener or something that increases friction like a tacky material. There are a large variety of options available such as the Good Grips Jar Opener, Zim Jar Openers or JarPop.
- Repetition of any thumb motion such as non-stop texting on your phone. It is better to actually make a call or use a full sized computer keyboard that uses all of your fingers to type, instead of sending long texts on your phone.
- Activities that put pressure on your thumb such as push-ups. This includes not only push-ups done for exercise, but pushing yourself up from a chair. If you have difficulties rising from a seated position, try making a fist and pushing up on your fisted hand or push up using your palms. Both positions help distribute the pressure so the small thumb and finger joints are not taking the stress. If rising from a chair is difficult due to knee or hip arthritis, you may want to consider a” lifting seat”. Lifting seats are electric powered seats that gently lift and lower you from a sitting or standing position.
Avoiding or minimizing certain activities can also help diminish the amount of pain you experience if you have problems with your thumb.
If you have thumb arthritis or are experiencing thumb problems there are a number of splints and braces that can help relieve your pain. For light support, the 3pp ThumSling supports the CMC joint and applies light compression to help reduce slipping and grinding on the joint. For moderate support and rest, the 3pp Design Line Thumb Splint, Mueller Thumb Stabilizer and CMCcare Thumb Brace are designed to protect but still allow movement. Firm support splints immobilize the thumb when full rest is needed. These splints can be recommended and custom fit by your healthcare professional.Like what you’ve read? Click here to subscribe to the blog!
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