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Thread: Thumb Arthritis
01-26-2012, 01:20 AM #1
I couldn't find a thread on this, but I've recently started to notice sharp pain especially when I do my backhand overheads. It also hurts when I tighten my grip to do an forehand overhead or backhand net kill. Basically any shot requiring the thumb to tighten, which is practically every shot. This is quite worrisome because it started last week Friday and once again I had it again just this Tuesday. I initially tried to brush it off and power through it because the pain would subside over the badminton session, but since it keeps coming back I decided to finally do some research on what it could be.
I won't lie, I'm a big texter using my blackberry with my thumbs. Texting about 40 messages (fairly long ones) a day or so, I think the overuse of my thumb has finally caught up to me in the form of arthritis.
That's a site explaining the symptoms with a picture showing where the injury is, which is exactly where I'm feeling the pain.
So far it's pain that only exhibits when I have to use my thumb to tighten something very hard like grips in badminton, but nothing like the examples they give of turning a key. I don't have any swelling or bruising in the area shown and my range of motion is still normal. Thankfully I've caught this in the early stages so I can probably prevent this injury from progressing to the symptoms described from that info page.
I've adjusted my texting style to use my forefinger and middle finger so as to take off the stress from the thumb. That and I think I should rest the next week or two so as not to aggravate the thumb injury.
Have any of you had this in the past, even if it's not an injury from texting but the same injury in the base of the thumb? If you did, how bad was it and how long did it take for you to recover from it?
01-26-2012, 01:27 AM #2
is it exactly in the circled area in that link?
yeah, does sound like overuse ie. repetitive strain injury
i had the same thing with my index finger from using the mouse too much a few yrs ago
looks like you should text less... or get an iphone with touch screen keyboard which requires less force to type
01-26-2012, 01:33 AM #3
I used to do martial arts and got knocked a couple of times in that exact area. Since it was my dominant hand, I gave up that sport. Needed to save my hand for my work and badminton. Sometimes it aches a little but I can basically do most things many years later. I am always mindful of the possibility of arthritis in that joint as previous injury makes arthritis come earlier.
It may not be arthritis for you - tendonitis is another possibility. I think if it recurs after a period of rest, it is reasonable to find a definitive diagnosis. Probably a CT scan will show a lot of information but you should get opinion from orthopedics (quite possibly a hand specialist) first.
I never had a blackberry, just using iPhone.
01-26-2012, 01:34 AM #4
Yeah, I've been told about the iphone vs the blackberry because blackberry buttons require a fair amount of force to type where as with the iphone you literally don't have to use any finger strength to text. Initially I liked the feel of buttons when texting but if it cuts into how i play badminton, it's a huge turn off for me.
And yeah it's in the exact circled area. the pain is more so in the inner part of the thumb towards the forefinger. I can actually put some pressure and feel the tenderness there.
edit: Yeah I realize self diagnosis is always not a good option because we're not trained medical professionals. Getting a scan is much a better way to have a definitive answer rather than doing guesswork.
01-26-2012, 01:35 AM #5
best to see a doc
01-26-2012, 01:50 AM #6
don't forget that in our line of field, 80% of the information for making a diagnosis is in the history alone if taken properly
don't need no ct scan for a minor thumb texting repetitive strain (ie. blackberry thumb)!
didn't we have gamer's thumb when we were young and played too much nintendo and arcade games?
and we recovered from them, right?
01-26-2012, 03:17 AM #7
Ahh, but history given voluntarily and history taken as directed from the physician can lead to very different conclusions.
It happened to me today - I asked the patient is his health good, reply is "yes".
Ask him, any recent coughs or colds, reply is "oh cough for two days"
Hmm, ask him any sputum? , reply is "oh yes.."
Ask, any color, reply is "white"
ask, any wheeze (previously denied), "just with the cough...." eek!
-> auscultation -> mild wheeze all over chest but not obvious when he was speaking!
It significantly changed the clinical plan so good history taking is important
With a thumb problem, I would definitely add on a good examination. However, we do know that signs and symptoms do have various sensitivities and specificities.
I agree CT scan would not be needed to diagnose repetitive strain injury. But it could exclude arthritis, thereby increasing the sensitivity of a diagnosis of repetitive strain injury. How about dual pathology circumstances? There could be a component of arthritis in the joint that is coexistent.
Always keep a mindful eye that the original diagnosis may not the correct one. I have seen many instances of this. Even MRI can sometimes be wrong - careful correlation with the clinical picture is important and inconsistencies between investigations and clinical picture needs to be viewed extra cautiously.
i have seen overconfidence lead to poor outcomes - unfortunately, sometimes those guys have poor insight.
01-26-2012, 03:29 AM #8
Very true that both history, examination, and investigations must be taken into consideration in total, without over-reliance on any one part. And inconsistencies should immediately raise red flags.
And your example shows the importance of good basic history taking skills, the art of which sometimes I fear that we're slowly losing as we overly depend on high tech investigations.
01-26-2012, 11:04 AM #9
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