Finger Pain From Smartphones

Finger Pain From SmartphonesIn the current day and age, using modern devices such as Smartphones, Tablets, iPods, etc have become part and parcel of everyone’s life. But along with it comes the unwanted side effects. Thanks to our constant typing and crunching up our fingers to e-mail, text, play games, etc, general digit discomfort is on the rise. Since we do this activity on a very regular basis, chances of Repetitive Stress Injury (RSI) is very high. It could range from mild tendonitis to chronic issues like Trigger Finger or the Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.

Trigger finger is a swelling of the tendon or tendon sheath in the palm of the hand of the tendons that bend the fingers. This swelling prevents the tendon from gliding smoothly through the sheath and the “pulley” (ligament) which holds the tendon to the bone.

Carpal tunnel syndrome occurs when the median nerve, which runs from the forearm into the palm of the hand, becomes pressed or squeezed at the wrist. The median nerve controls sensations to the palm side of the thumb and fingers (although not the little finger), as well as impulses to some small muscles in the hand that allow the fingers and thumb to move. The carpal tunnel – a narrow, rigid passageway of ligament and bones at the base of the hand – houses the median nerve and tendons. Sometimes, thickening from irritated tendons or other swelling narrows the tunnel and causes the median nerve to be compressed. The result may be pain, weakness, or numbness in the hand and wrist, radiating up the arm.

The above issues start to exacerbate with age and hence you have to be extra cautious with such pains if you are above 40.

Some of the ways, you can avoid this is mentioned below:

– Try and avoid using the device for long hours, take regular breaks

– Relax yourself by freeing your hands and arms in a free swing position

– If you feel any numbness or swelling in your hands, you should stop using the phone and relax your hands in warm water for five to 10 minutes.

– Try not to bend their wrists backward for long periods and make conscious efforts to use different fingers, not only the index finger, and put the phone on the desk while texting

– You can wear splints to keep wrists straight and some anti-inflammation medicines are also helpful

– The following exercises will also help in alleviating some of the pain:

o Place your right hand in front of you, like you are giving someone a hi-fi. Then rotate your hand clockwise so that the fingers are pointing down and the wrist is up. Hold on to your fingers with your left hand and pull fingers away from your wrist. Hold on for about 10 seconds. Repeat the same process on left side by rotating your hand counterclockwise instead.

o Bring your hands together in a prayer position in front of your chest, simply lower the hands down through the center of your chest and stomach, keeping hands pressed together. Repeat a few times.

Tips to Look After Your Eyes This Summer

  1. Sunglasses:

It is commonly known that exposing our bodies to UV rays is very bad for our skin but we need to remember to protect our delicate eyes from the sun’s rays as well. Too much exposure to UV rays can result in pain and irritation to the cornea (clear window of the eye) and in extreme cases this can lead to age related macular degeneration, cancer of the cornea, cataracts or even blindness.

Sunglasses are a great way to protect your eyes from the sun’s UV rays. When buying sunglasses make sure they comply with BSEN 1836: 1997 or have the CE kite mark and are marked with UV 400. It is best to get sunglasses that are UVA and UVB 100% protected, if you are unsure always ask your eye clinic or optician. You can also get polarized sunglasses, not only do they protect your eyes from UV rays but they can help decrease glare which can strain your vision, they are very useful when you are by the pool on holiday or taking part in outdoor sports.

Don’t forget, it’s not just adults that need sunglasses, children should wear them too but the best protection is to stay in the shade on sunny days.

  1. Sports:

Not only do you need to wear sunglasses if it is a sunny day but also eye wear to protect you from possible injury. Ophthalmologists advise eye protection should be worn when playing most ball sports. The bigger the ball the less likely for an eye injury to occur, for example footballs are less likely to injure your eyes than a golf ball. Good sporting shops should sell plastic shields or masks to protect you.

Also when swimming it is best not to wear contact lenses to prevent infections and damage to the eye and swimming goggles are a must if you are swimming underwater.

  1. DIY/Gardening:

Summer months are a great time to do DIY projects around the house and spend time in the garden but these things can lead to eye injuries if proper precautions are not taken. You often see someone trimming the grass while children are playing nearby and all of them are at risk from flying stones, soil, twigs and even the grass itself. Make sure children are out of the way when doing such tasks and make sure you wear professional quality goggles.

Lacerations to the cornea are not uncommon when undertaking gardening and can lead to surgery. You should wear goggles when hammering nails, sawing or anything that can involve debris entering the eye.

If you do get hit in the eye with something first factor in your vision, then the pain. If you vision isn’t affected, it should be enough to apply an ice pack. If your vision is affected or you have a penetrating injury you must seek immediate attention from an eye doctor, eye clinic or A&E.

  1. Chemicals:

If you get into a swimming pool and it stings your eyes it can mean the chemicals aren’t balanced correctly, this is unlikely to affect your vision and tends to be a comfort concern. If the water hurts your eyes it is always best to get out and rinse your eyes with clean water. If the pain continues you should seek medical attention, ideally with an eye doctor. You can soothe irritated eyes by using artificial tear drops.

You can also get infection from untreated pond or lake water getting under contact lenses, so best to always wear swimming goggles.

When you are on holiday you might come across some plants that can harm your eyes, such as sumac, ivy and poison oak. It is good to learn what these look like before you go on holiday so you can then avoid them.

Getting an insect bite around your eyes can also cause damage but so can applying insect repellent too close to the eyes, so avoid sitting out too long once the insects are out in the evening or having citronella candles around can deter them.

It may sound like summer is a big eye injury waiting to happen but it is best to be prepared and protect yourself and your children. If you need more advice or suffer an eye injury of any kind remember it is always best that you see your eye doctor or optometrist so they can help prevent any long term damage and if you have a serious eye injury go straight to your eye clinic or A&E.

Common Foot Injuries You Should Know About

As anyone with foot pain or a foot injury already knows, your feet are a very important part of your body. In fact, a quarter of the bones in your body are located in your feet. Each foot and ankle has 26 bones, 33 joints and over 100 ligaments, tendons and muscles.

Your feet are responsible for many different functions, providing you with balance, flexibility and mobility to navigate throughout your day. It’s sometimes easy to take your feet for granted, until you experience some type of foot pain or injury.

There are many different things that can cause foot pain including something as simple as the shoes that you choose to wear. Here’s an overview of 5 medical conditions that may cause foot pain.

1. Gout: This type of arthritis tends to cause sudden attacks of pain and discomfort, generally around the base area of the big toe. Often times an attack of gout is accompanied by If swelling, heat and redness. Generally this condition is caused from uric crystals that build up in your blood. If you think you might have gout in your foot, you should seek qualified medical attention in order to get an accurate diagnosis and treatment options.

2. Bunions: While this painful condition is often associated with wearing shoes that are too tight, it can also run in families and be associated with genetics. After a long period of pressure between the first and second toe, bunions may begin to develop. Bunions are bony bumps made up of soft tissue and bone. They are often accompanied by swelling and pain. And if they persist, it can lead to other types of foot and toe pain.

3. Morton’s Neuroma: When you suffer from Morton’s neuroma it might feel like a shooting pain in your foot or like you are standing on a small pebble. This uncomfortable nerve condition causes a buildup of tissues and nerves around your toes and sometimes the ball of your foot. The pain may leave your foot stinging or even feeling numb. Over time if left untreated, walking can become difficult as it is increasingly painful to apply any pressure on your foot.

4. Plantar Fasciitis: This common condition is generally described as intense heel pain. The pain tends to be most noticeable first thing in the morning and it can also act up after sitting or being inactive for a long period of time. The thick band of tissue, called the plantar fascia, becomes inflamed and produces uncomfortable pain along your heel and midfoot. Fortunately, plantar fasciitis can typically be treated through regular stretching, proper footwear and other medical remedies if necessary.

5. Bursitis: This is a condition that can occur all over the body including places like your hip and toes. Bursitis is an overuse condition that happens in and around joints. Fluid filled sacs called bursa tend to become inflamed after performing repetitive motions and have been known to cause severe pain around the big toe. Treatment for bursitis generally calls for adequate rest and a change to different kinds of activities that offer relief to the affected body part.

Helpful Tips to Prevent Dry Eyes

All contact lens wearers have experienced dry eyes at some point. The irritation, the burning and heavy squinting make getting through the day unbearable. One of the steps to take is to observe the situations you are in when this occurs, as a lot of the time dry eyes may be prevented when the appropriate steps are taken. Here are 7 helpful tips to avoid dry eyes:

~Set your computer screen below your eye level: When your screen is above your eye level you tend to open your eyes more to see the screen better. When your screen is lower you relax your eyes, which helps reduce the dehydration of the tears in your eyes.

~Be mindful of your surroundings: Whether you live in the mountains, in the desert or are catching the next flight home, the air in these and many other areas can be very dry. Try closing your eyes more often to decrease the amount of moisture loss in your eyes. You can also carry an extra bottle of solution to rewet your lenses if they are drying out.

~Try wearing a disposable moist contact lens: Theses lenses contain more water content than traditional lenses, so they provide longer lasting comfort throughout the day, and since they are disposable they require no maintenance. Just toss out the dry lenses and pop in a fresh pair. Moist contact lenses are also available for both astigmatic and multifocal wearers.

~Think about wearing sunglasses: Consider wearing sunglasses, even when you wouldn’t normally, if you find your eyes are drying out more often than you’d like. Blocking the suns scorching rays and the winds blustery gust will go a long way to keeping your eyes moist throughout the day.

~Avoiding smoke or smoking: Not only is smoking bad for your lungs, it is also extremely bad for your eyes. You may find that smoke causes your contact lenses to rest uncomfortably in your eyes, causing them to become red, scratchy and irritating. This is because smoke extracts moisture from the surrounding air, thus drying out your contacts and your eyes at the same time. Smoking also can cause harmful long term consequences to your eyes such as glaucoma, cataracts and even blindness.

~Prevent air blowing directly into your eyes: Fans, air conditioners, car heaters, and hair dryers. Each of these, among many others, can dry your lenses and your eyes out in minutes making for a really unpleasant rest of your day.

~Use eye drops regularly: If you have persistent dry eyes be sure to use rewetting drops even when you’re not dried out. This will keep you ahead of the game and avoid any unnecessary discomfort later. Consider using rewetting drops prior to removing your lenses. This will ensure that the lenses are well hydrated and therefore become easier and safer to remove.

How to Improve Your Vision Without Glasses Naturally

Do you wish to boost your vision without having to wear glasses or contact lenses? If you intend to bid farewell to glasses as well as contact lenses for good without having to pay for high-risk surgical procedures then this information is for you.

One of the first points is learning how to do eye conditioning and eye exercises that will improve your vision. If this is something you never considered before then you might be surprised to learn that this is one of the ways to improve your sight naturally.

Eyes Can Improve with Exercise

Like other muscles in the body your eyes can participate in exercises to not just enhance but as well as to decrease the deterioration of the eyes. Regrettably we cannot reverse the aging procedure but there are techniques that will improve the eyes naturally. These techniques allow one to boost vision without glasses or contact lenses.

Due to the amount of stress in our daily lives, both at work as well as play, there are lots of reasons why our eyes deteriorate. In fact they seem to deteriorate a great deal faster compared to what mother-nature would dictate.

Eyes Get Stressed

Activities such as working at a computer all day to enjoying the TV creates not just stress on our eyes but also weakens the muscular tissues. No doubt you have experienced eye strain, headaches or migraines.

Wearing glasses and also contact lenses is just a short-lived fix that causes your eyes to get weaker and lazier overtime. This is why you will often end up buying a new pair of glasses that have a stronger prescription.

You ought to do everything in your power to strengthen your eyes such as having a well-balanced diet. You diet should be rich in minerals and vitamins and as well the eyes need exercise. They also need to be relaxed to relieve stress and tension.

If you have every experienced blurry vision, gotten headaches or that gritty feeling in the eyes while using a computer or watching television your vision has been strained and needs to rest.

A Natural Way to Improve Vision

One of the most popular methods used today to boost your vision without glasses or contact lenses is the Bates Method. Initially developed in 1880 by Dr. William H Bates and refined over time, The Bates Method is based upon a series of eye exercises and also strategies performed daily.

Although there are some vision issues that cannot be fixed naturally, the huge bulk of vision issues can be cured utilizing the Bates Program.

Do not continue to spend your money on glasses or contact lenses or be lured to high-risk surgical treatments. Discover the Bates Method and improve your vision without glasses or contact lenses today.

Who Is Susceptible to Tinnitus and How to Cope

Tinnitus is a disease that develops when people have permanent hearing loss. Individuals with the disease report hearing a constant noise in their ears. The noises can range from dim, high-pitched sounds to something even louder than that. Some studies show that as much as one in ten adults suffer from it. It is also true that some people are more prone than others, especially those who are surrounded by noise in the workplace. Here is a run-down of those who are most likely to develop this disease, and how to cope with it.

Veterans

Perhaps more than any other segment of the population, combat veterans are highly susceptible to developing hearing problems. The VA website reports that tinnitus is the number one disability among veterans. From the sound of guns and mortars to the noise of helicopter rotors, there’s no question that many vets are left with permanent hearing damage. The VA’s website offers some tips and advice to vets who are experiencing these problems. Some VA centers also offer programs that vets can sign up for to learn how to cope with this issue.

Factory and Machine Workers

People who work in factories or around heavy machinery are also susceptible to permanent hearing loss. This may also include airport personnel or those who work around aircraft. When people are constantly exposed to loud noises, the small cilia, or hair fibers, become damaged beyond repair. Cilia pick up sound waves and vibrations, which send signals to our brains to help us register sounds. When they become too badly injured, they cannot be repaired, and this is what causes the constant ringing. It’s like hearing a permanent sound in your ears all the time.

Musicians

Musicians who spend much of their career on tour and on the road will inevitably wind up with hearing damage. It’s not just high-pitched noises that affect the ears, but low frequencies as well. Musicians who spend their careers surrounded by stacks of amplifiers will have long-term exposure to high and low-frequency sound waves.

What Can Be Done

While this disease cannot be cured, there are ways for people to learn to cope with it. Deep-breathing exercises have a remarkable effect on patients. If those suffering can learn how to slow their breathing, this will help calm their thoughts, and bring their anxiety levels down. Learning to meditate also works.

But for some, this isn’t enough. Audio therapy is another form of treatment for tinnitus. For those who suffer, audiologists can help patients find sounds that sooth their pain. Listening to music is a big one, but some may try downloading nature sounds onto their iPods. Others may bring a small fountain into their room to help ease the tension as they fall asleep at night.

Another method is listening to something that isn’t necessarily soothing but engaging. Audiobooks, for instance, can help to not only distract the person from the noise, but also to engage their thought processes. Many who suffer from tinnitus find that when the noise is at its worst, it’s the only thing they can think about. Listening to podcasts or web-radio programs may also help to focus the patient’s thoughts and provide a comforting distraction from the constant noise.

Podiatry Treatment Addresses Many Health Challenges

While many consider podiatry to be an exclusive realm of all things below the ankle, the truth is that treatment of injuries and other problems of the feet affect the whole body. When the biomechanics of walking are misaligned by damage to the feet, it can cause overarching issues in the legs, knees, hips, and back. Chronic pain can reduce the desire to exercise, leading to lethargy and depression.

Help with toe pain

Toes are made up of multiple small bones, ligaments, and muscles. When something in these complicated constructs gets out of place, injured, or torn, the pain can be debilitating. A patient suffering from bunions or hammer toe should seek treatment sooner rather than later. Addressing toe pain earlier on can reduce the need for invasive treatments, and this may make treatment more effective in the long run.

Tendonitis and heel pain

Although tendonitis can happen in several places from the ankles to the toes, it’s most commonly diagnosed in the Achilles tendon. This inflammation can cause moderate to severe pain and make even light exercise difficult. It is most often treated with physical therapy, but other treatments can become necessary if the pain is severe. The normal causes are repetitive stress or not taking enough time to stretch before working out.

Leg, knee and back pain

Most people seek out podiatry treatment only after first consulting an orthopedic surgeon about their knee, back, or hip pain. Many patients don’t realize that the pain in their lower body may be caused by problems in their feet. Balance, movement, and articulation can be affected by injury or malformation of the feet. By treating the source of the problem, these kinds of injuries can be addressed more effectively than by treating the symptoms with painkillers or antidepressants.

Treatment possibilities

Many patients seeking out the care of a podiatry specialist expect surgery to be a part of their treatment plan. While some issues must be dealt with surgically, many can be addressed through less invasive means. X-rays can help pinpoint a diagnosis, and they are often necessary in devising a long-term treatment plan. The options for treatment may range from education about appropriate footwear, to physical therapy, to specialized orthotic inserts.

Preventing podiatry problems

Many patients don’t realize that feet change in shape and size long after puberty, unlike most parts of the body. Many podiatry problems can be avoided simply by having the feet measured when buying shoes, and wearing shoes that fit properly, especially for exercise. When there are problems with the shape of the feet, or an injury that causes problems with walking, custom-created orthopedic inserts may correct balance and other issues.

Seeking out orthopedic treatment at the first sign of pain or strain often prevents further injury. Foot injuries should be treated promptly to reduce the recovery time and help ensure the fullest possible recovery. Wearing the correct shoes for activity and exercise, and taking the time to stretch and warm up before exercise help prevent injuries.

How Do I Know If I Need Hand Surgery

If you’re living with chronic hand or wrist pain, chances are you desperately want relief. Many times, non-surgical treatment is quite effective as a remedy for hand and wrist pain. However, there are circumstances in which hand surgery is the only long-term solution.

So when is it time to consider undergoing hand surgery for your carpal tunnel syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis, or other hand condition?

When Do I Need Carpal Tunnel Surgery?

You might be suffering from carpal tunnel syndrome if you have:

  • Numbness or tingling in the thumb, index, middle, or half the ring finger
  • Fingers fall asleep while driving, talking on the phone, washing hair, etc.
  • Severe nighttime pain
  • Pain radiating to forearms, shoulders, neck
  • Dropping objects
  • Objects falling out of hand
  • Weak grip strength

Pain relief is the main purpose for performing most hand surgeries, including carpal tunnel release surgery. Individual pain thresholds vary, so some individuals let the condition progress further than others before they consider hand surgery. In most cases, carpal tunnel patients decide that hand surgery is necessary when they start experiencing numbness in the fingers, severe nighttime pain, and radiating hand pain.

There are three different surgical options to address carpal tunnel pain:

  1. Open Carpal Tunnel Release – traditional surgery with large incision, longer recovery period.
  2. Mini Carpal Tunnel Release – traditional open surgery with a smaller incision.
  3. Endoscopic Carpal Tunnel Release (Also known as The No Stitch Procedure) – minimally invasive, 10 minute procedure, no stitches required, short recovery period.

Can You Have Surgery for Rheumatoid Arthritis?

Rheumatoid arthritis has no known cure. This is a chronic inflammatory, autoimmune disorder, meaning the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks its own tissues. Because of this, rheumatoid arthritis treatments mainly focus on controlling symptoms and preventing joint damage.

You might have rheumatoid arthritis if you are experiencing:

  • Tender, warm, swollen joints
  • Morning stiffness that can last for hours
  • Rheumatoid nodules – firm bumps of tissue under the skin on the arms
  • Fatigue, fever, weight loss

Since there is no absolute cure for rheumatoid arthritis of the hand, medications can reduce joint swelling, relieve pain, and prevent or slow joint damage, but very little else.

The best treatment is to manage rheumatoid arthritis symptoms as best as possible from early on. Being proactive in this way will hopefully prevent or slow irreparable damage to your hands.

Unfortunately, many who suffer from hand and wrist arthritis don’t take action until they feel significant pain and the damage has already begun. Severely damaged joints due to rheumatoid arthritis of the hand make hand surgery necessary.

If medications and other treatments fail to prevent joint damage from rheumatoid arthritis, there are several surgical procedures to consider:

  1. Total joint replacement – Damaged parts of joint are removed and replaced with a prosthesis made of metal or plastic
  2. Tendon repair – Surgical repair of the tendons around joints that may have loosened or ruptured
  3. Joint fusion – For when joint replacement is not an option; two joints may be fused together to stabilize or realign a joint, often resulting in pain relief

It is difficult to regain full function of the fingers after damage from rheumatoid arthritis, but significant improvement in function, pain, and appearance can be expected after this kind of hand surgery. Removal or repair of the arthritic areas will not remove the cause of the disease, meaning problems can return, which will require additional attention from your hand doctor.

Is There a Surgery to Remove Ganglion Cysts?

Ganglion cysts are very common and usually appear on the wrist. The cyst is a pocket of fluid that has built up on a weak spot of the ligament wall. Ganglion cysts are almost always benign, meaning they are non-cancerous.

In general, ganglion cysts do not cause pain or limit a person’s range of motion. Of course, this is not always the case. In some individuals, cysts like these can become chronically painful and must be treated.

The least aggressive treatment for a ganglion cyst is rest. It is recommended for those who are not experiencing pain or discomfort from their cyst. A hand doctor will recommend immobilization of the cystic hand or wrist, either with or without a splint. Ganglion cysts can go away on their own, but only with time.

The next, more aggressive option is aspiration, which simply means draining the cyst of built-up fluid. A hand doctor, who will use a needle and syringe to draw out fluid contained in the cyst, performs this procedure using local anesthesia. Aspiration is a good temporary solution with little to no recovery time. However, the cyst is likely to reappear, as the “root,” or the sac, will eventually heal where it has been punctured and begin to fill up again gradually.

Surgical excision is the most thorough treatment option for getting rid of a ganglion cyst. Patients who resort to hand surgery usually do so because their ganglion cyst has become painful or uncomfortable. Close proximity to a nerve, for example, could cause a great deal of discomfort and pain, especially with range of motion.

Tension Headache Got Stress

The name “tension headache” immediately implies the cause for this malady that affects millions of people every day. People who suffer from these types of headaches describe them as tightness in their head or neck muscles-almost like someone is pulling on them. These types of headaches often have a gradual onset unlike other possibly more severe headaches like the migraine. Because of this gradual onset some people do not even realize they are getting a tension headache until it is full-blown. Sometimes the pain can be just as bad as or even worse than a migraine. The key to treating these types of headaches is to catch them while they are in their early stages, before they get bad.

Stress Happens

As we go through our daily activities we experience tension regarding situations at work, at home, and other scenarios. This is when a tension headache is most likely to occur-as the pressure in our lives builds, so does the tendency to build tension and therefore, we may get a headache.

Do You Know The Type Of Headache You Have?

If you are not sure what type of headache you are suffering from, you should make an appointment with your doctor. Your doctor will probably want detailed information about when the headaches occur, what seems to trigger them and where they are located. If you do have a tension headache problem, it will be fairly simple to diagnose and treat.

How Do You Treat It?

Most of the time you can treat this type of headache with over the counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen and acetaminophen. You won’t need a prescription and they often come in store brands that make them a less expensive alternative to treat your tension headache. Just make sure that you check for the amount of medicine contained in the tablets, so that you can get the right dosing information. Some of the drug companies have even come out with formulas that are specifically for each type of headache-like sinus, migraine, or tension headache. Talk to the pharmacist if you are concerned about drug interactions with medications you may already be taking. They will be able to let you know if what you are taking will be safe.

If you are already taking over the counter medications and they are not having any effect on your tension headache you may need to make another trip to the doctor. Sometimes our bodies become so accustomed to a medication that it no longer works. In this case, it may be necessary to get a prescription pain killer that can be taken at the onset of a tension headache. If you suffer from daily headaches with no relief from any type of medication, you may need to be on a daily medication that you take whether you are experiencing a headache at the time or not.

Another medication free treatment for a headache is to apply heat or cold to the area-this is especially effective when the tension is just beginning. You can also take a hot shower and let the water “massage” your neck and head muscles. You can even try massage to alleviate some of the tension.

Be Preventative!

One of the best things that you can do for yourself when dealing with a tension headache is to try to prevent it. Some of the known things that you can do are to make sure that you get enough sleep every night to avoid fatigue, drink plenty of water, and get daily exercise. Doing these types of things will not only help with your headaches, but your overall health and well-being as well.

Trigger Thumb in Children

Trigger Thumb in ChildrenThe Problem

The diagnosis of trigger thumb in children is usually made when the parents notice that the child cannot straighten the thumb all the way. The involved thumb is “bent” at the joint closest to the thumb nail.

Trigger thumb involves a thickening of the flexor tendon of the child’s thumb in the region of the metacarpophalangeal joint (the MP joint – on the palm side). These children usually have a bump or knot in this location that parents can easily feel.

Trigger thumb is rare – one estimate is that for every 1000 babies born, three of them may be affected by trigger thumb at one year of age. About 30% of children with trigger thumb have it on both sides.

The Cause

Several explanations exist for pediatric trigger thumb:

  • degeneration (wearing out) of the tendon in the thumb
  • thickening of the tendon lining (synovium)
  • positioning of the baby in the uterus may contribute to the thumb’s position or function

These are just theories, and there is no good scientific evidence to back them up. The ultimate cause is unknown.

This is often referred to as “congenital” (present at birth) trigger thumb, but multiple research studies of newborns have showed that it is not present at birth.

The Diagnosis

Most children are at least six months old when they develop the condition. Parents notice the flexed (bent) position of the thumb, often because the child injures some other area of the hand or wrist.

There may be painful locking, snapping, or clicking of the thumb, but the thumb is usually locked in a bent position. Sometimes parents don’t remember an injury; the child may deny hurting it, and may not complain of pain or discomfort at all.

Trigger thumb is usually diagnosed without x-rays. This is not a problem with the bones or joints in the thumb – the tendon (where the problem is) is not visible on regular x-rays. The surgeon may order x-rays if the diagnosis is not clear from examining the child.

The Treatment

No one knows exactly what percentage of trigger thumbs in kids will get better (resolve) over time. Several research studies have shown conflicting information on this; rates of improvement range from 0% (none get better) to 49%.

Most hand surgeons believe that chances of the thumb suddenly getting better may decrease as the child gets older.

Surgery for trigger thumb in children is very reliable. It involves cutting a tight, constrictive portion of the tendon sheath through a small incision. The incision is placed in one of the creases of the thumb, so the scar is minimized. Dissolvable sutures are used, so they don’t have to be taken out in the office.

Delaying surgery does not typically cause problems. Several research studies have shown good results from surgery even after delaying surgery for four years after parents noticed the symptoms.

Non-surgical methods such as simply waiting for spontaneous improvement, stretching, or splinting, may also be tried before deciding on surgery. There is currently no good science that tells us what results to expect with these methods.