Is all of that texting and tweeting causing pain in your thumb? The health of your thumb is important as it is the only digit we can oppose with when grasping items. Rarely do we handle items with the four fingers alone. Whether it is DeQuervain’s Tenosynovitis, Basal Joint Arthritis, or Trigger Thumb, it deserves special attention.
“Generally the first joint in the hand to become arthritic is a joint at the base of the thumb,” reports Barbara Shoemaker, occupational therapist and certified hand Therapist with The Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago (RIC) at Silver Cross Hospital. “In a normal thumb joint, cartilage covers the ends of the bones and acts as a shock absorber to allow smooth, pain free movements. When this cartilage wears out, the bones rub against one another and may result in pain.”
Join Barbara Shoemaker and Ashlie Broadhurst, occupational therapists with RIC at Silver Cross, on Monday, May 19 at 6:30 in the Silver Cross Hospital Conference Center, 1890 Silver Cross Blvd., Pavilion A, New Lenox, to learn about the common causes of thumb pain and strategies to enhance function. For more information or to register, call 1-888-660-HEAL (4325) or visit www.silvercross.org.
Causes and Treatments of Thumb Pain
The overuse, arthritic conditions and joint instability can cause soreness in your thumb. Previous injury and disease can also be a part of this painful problem. Thumb pain can be aggravated by activities that require pinching such as turning a key, opening jars and writing. Treating a sore thumb initially starts with rest. Wearing a splint to rest the thumb is ideal because it keeps the thumb from constantly being used and potentially worsening it. For the swelling that may accompany your thumb, cooling packs and anti-inflammatory medications can reduce swelling. Remember, cooling packs should be used for 10 to 15 minutes at a time and if reapplication is needed, you should wait until the affected area reaches room temperature again before reapplying. If treated early, very specific, gentle exercises supervised by an occupational therapist can help reduce the pain. Cortisone shots applied directly to the joint can also relieve pain for a short while.
About the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago at Silver Cross Hospital
Silver Cross Hospital and the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago (RIC) have teamed up to expand post-acute physical medicine and rehabilitation services in Will County and the southwest Chicagoland communities. The partnership provides world-class rehabilitation care for a range of conditions for patients close to home. Silver Cross is the only healthcare facility in the area with this breadth of services in partnership with RIC. Together, Silver Cross and RIC provide rehabilitation services in inpatient and outpatient care settings at four locations—at the main Hospital and the Silver Cross Professional Buildings in Homer Glen, New Lenox and West Joliet. Additionally, the RIC team provides therapy services for patients on the hospital’s medical and surgical floors. For more information about RIC at Silver Cross, call (815) 300-7110 or visit www.silvercross.org.
About Silver Cross Hospital
Silver Cross Hospital is a not-for-profit health care provider serving Will County and southwest suburban communities since 1895. Silver Cross has been recognized as a Thomson Reuters 100 Top Hospitals National Award winner for seven consecutive years and as a Hospital of Choice by the American Alliance of Healthcare Providers. With over 3,000 employees, physicians and volunteers, Silver Cross operates a 289-bed acute care hospital and 5 satellite facilities providing outpatient services and physician offices. Silver Cross opened a state-of-the-art replacement hospital on February 26, 2012 at I-355 and Route 6 in New Lenox. In 2013, Silver Cross provided over $48 million in charity care and other community benefits. To learn more about Silver Cross Hospital or a referral to a physician on staff, visit http://www.silvercross.org/ or call 1-888-660-HEAL (4325).