My left thumb has been really sore for a while, more so when I use my hand to grip... I've been wearing a brace for months first to remind myself that it's sore, and to be careful, and second to support my thumb. My thumbs have been sore for a long time, but not enough to really be concerned about. This winter my left thumb has been quite sore all the time, more so with use - and peeling potatoes is agony, I have to rest the spud in the palm of my hand and try to peel it like that. It doesn't seem to be improving.
I dragged myself to the doctor on Tuesday last.
The doctor thought it could be arthritis or tendonitis - it it was tendonitis it would get better, if it was arthritis it probably wouldn't get better. I had done some whippersnippering the day before and it was quite sore. He suggested that I wait a week and if it was still sore I was to use the referrals he'd given me for an xray and an ultrasound.
My wrist and thumb didn't improve at all, and in fact for the next few nights it was quite sore when I was trying to sleep. Usually it gets better after I sleep and improves after a few days, but not this time.
As I was away from work on Thursday I decided to take the opportunity to go and have the xray and organise the ultrasound. It was local so was easy to arrange.
Thursday I had the xray and Friday I fronted for the ultrasound. It's amazing what they can do these days, instant images! I haven't seen the report on the ultrasound, but the report on the xray is:
X-RAY LEFT HAND AND WRISTI just found a link on basilar thumb arthritis. OMG! This is it!
Severe degenerative change is seen at the first carpometacarpal joint at the base of the thumb. The joint space is markedly narrowed with periarticular sclerosis and marginal osteophytes. Mild degeneration is seen at the scaphotrapezium and trapezoid interspace. The rest of the joint spaces are resonably preserved. There is not bony abnormality seen or any fractures. No erosive changes.
There is severe osteoarthritic changes seen at the carpometacarpal joint at the base of the thumb.
How do I know if I have thumb arthritis?And I thought I was just being a bit of a hypochondriac.
Most people notice a gradual onset of symptoms over time. Pain is usually located at the base of the thumb, but may radiate into the wrist or hand. At first the pain may feel like a dull "ache" but over time it may become more severe. Activities such as opening a jar, turning door knobs, using a key, or even buttoning a shirt can become difficult due to pain and weakness. Some people feel that they do not have the strength they used to have in the hand. Occassionally, a sudden "sharp" pain in the thumb may cause someone to drop a cup of coffee. Some people notice a bump at the base of their thumb, which may be painful to the touch.