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Sharp pain in base of both thumbs

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I have had sharp pain in the base of both thumbs that has gotten progressively worse over the past year.  In prior years the pain was sporadic but it has been pretty consistent the past year and especially the past six months.  I had a cortisone shot which did nothing.  The doctor took an X-ray and said it could be early arthritis in the base of the thumb.  Naturally I don't want to hear that but the pain is getting worse.  The internet says this condition is much more common in women over 40 than men and I fall into the latter category at the age of 48.

I had hoped it was Dequerveins tendinitis which supposedly doesn't respond all that well to cortisone as it is the sheath of the tendon and not the tendon that has issues.

I have no stiffness in the joint and I cannot feel any bone on bone but then again I don't know what bone on bone should feel like.  I tend to think I should feel scraping and pain.  When I first get up in the morning I'll sometimes get a crack from the left thumb if for some reason I wrap my left hand around my right wrist and squeeze my left hand.  

I have decided to get back into guitar playing which isn't helping but ironically doesn't seem to aggravate the situation all that much either.  

I'll go back to my hand doctor in the next week or so and see what he wants to do but I shudder to think that at 48 I'll have to spend the next twenty to thirty years not only in pain but unable to ride a motorcycle or play guitar.  There seems to be many different surgeries to correct this and none of them sound all that appealing.  Fusing that joint and losing all mobility?  I don't think so.

If Dr. Mark or another Orthopod here has any advice I would appreciate it.

NC

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Maybe this wont help you but my friend had a problem with swelling and pain in his hands and stopped drinking soda and it mostly went away, also my sister in law wears hand braces at night because of a clenching problem that causes pain

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Thanks Twinstar.  I have heard that aspartame isn't the best for you but I think diet soda has now gotten away from that although the new product probably has something worse in it.  Still it bares further investigation.

NC

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Sounds like the same problem that I had. Mine had been getting progressively worse over a period of 2-3 years. They hurt the most when I shuffled papers as I was grading them. Super repetitive. Guitar could be the repetitive motion for you. It hurt so bad, I could hardly ride last summer. I tried a couple of different thumb braces..didn't work. Then I started taping them before riding. That worked. I had very little pain while riding. By the end of the summer, I could ride again with no pain. I have a different job this year and don't have to shuffle papers so I haven't had pain since August. Maybe if you stopped guitar for awhile and taped while you rode, yours would get better, too. Or tape for both guitar and riding. I hope you find something to get rid of the pain and allow you to continue doing what you love.

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It is usually not a good sign if the shot did not help at all. Go to Physical/Occupational Therapy. Maybe they can help with a brace/tape.

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Thank you for posting here at TT!  Keep in mind that the hand has small muscles that need some attention like our bigger muscle groups (i.e. our back, quads, chest, etc.).  If you started having spasms in your back or quads, we would normally foam roll, isolated muscle stretch or get a massage.  To the exact same thing to with your hands.  I know that it may sound soft, but simply take your thumb of your right hand and work through all of the tissue in your left hand and "massage" the small muscles in between your bones.  You don't have to push hard, you simply want to relieve the tension within the muscles.  

Another suggestion would be contrast therapy.  Take two bowls and make one warm and one cool (not scolding and freezing) - submerge a hand in each bowl for 10 minutes then swap the bowls.  The hot - cold contrast will create dilatation and contraction within the soft tissue.  This is a great therapeutic tool for soft tissue issues. The heat relaxes the tissue, the cold turns off the "pain - spasm - pain" cycle within the soft tissue.  

After each hand has been placed in the cold - heat - take your hands out and manually massage them.  Cycle this as often as you can.  

Please give this a shot and let me know how your body responds.  

Yours in sport and health,

-Coach Robb 

(CompleteRacingSolutions.com

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