Handcare.org is a patient resource created by the American Society for Surgery of the Hand, the oldest and most prestigious medical specialty society dedicated to the hand, wrist, arm and shoulder.
Certified Hand Therapist Michelle McMurray, MOT, OTR/L, CHT discusses thumb arthritis, also known as basal joint arthritis.
Basal joint arthritis, or thumb arthritis, is the most common site of arthritis in the hand. This may also be referred to as the CMC (carpometacarpal) joint. Pain typically occurs at the base of the thumb where the hand meets the wrist. People typically report pain and weakness with grasping or pinching activities. Most people do not realize how important this particular joint is to the function of the hand until it hurts. The amount of force transmitted through the CMC joint holding a 1-pound object at the tip is amplified to over 13 pounds at the CMC joint. Basic activities of daily living can require between 6 and 8 pounds of pinch at the tip of the thumb, which would be amplified more than 10 times that at the base of the thumb! Over time, this can cause break-down of the joint with loss of cartilage (the smooth part of the joint) and inflammation. This is sometimes a painful process.
When this occurs in the body, what options do we have to feel better? Most people do not choose surgery as their first option, and it is often not recommended as the first option. Initial options may include injections, splinting, medications and/or rest. Additionally, there are modifications that can be made to our daily activities which may also help to decrease the pain.
Here are a few examples of some easy and inexpensive ways to protect your hands to decrease the stress and inflammation at your thumb:
Courtesy of Michelle Fontaine, MD, Orange Regional Medical Center
MIDDLETOWN – Cold weather is behind us and our hands have emerged from their mittens into a world with hazards.
During the summer, the emergency room typically sees an increase in traumatic hand and finger injuries. And, it’s not surprising that the surge comes as yard work begins, since lawnmowers are a common cause of hand injuries.
To ensure you cut your lawn and nothing else, taking a few simple precautions can help. Always wear gloves as a first line of defense when operating a mower or other trimming tools. Keep your hands away from blades and the chute at all times. If your mower is clogged, use extreme caution when cleaning it out. Never touch mower blades with your hands, even if the engine is off. Once an obstruction is cleared, the blades may unexpectedly turn and cause serious bodily damage.
Grilling is another culprit. We see slicing injuries not just from basic food prep – which is a year-round issue – but from people using knives improperly. For example, we see people separate frozen burger patties or slice buns in their hands rather than on a table top.
Did you know that the American Society for Surgery of the Hand provides online information on 20 different hand and upper extremity conditions in Spanish? Here are some of our most popular conditions in Spanish:
For additional topics in Spanish, visit www.HandCare.org.
The wrist muscles and forearm muscles do so much more than give you strength in your arm and wrist. These muscles also play a part in helping you move your hand and fingers. There are 18 different muscles!
Here’s a preview of these muscles:
I have been told to see a hand therapist, but am unsure what that means. Who provides “hand therapy”?
A hand therapist is an occupational therapist (OT) or physical therapist (PT) who has specific training and expertise in treating hand and arm conditions. Typically, this person has spent many additional years gaining expertise with hand and arm injuries and treatment. When an OT or PT has reached this higher level of experience, they often become a Certified Hand Therapist (CHT).
So I can see anyone that is a PT, OT or CHT to take care of my problem?
You will want to ensure that the therapist you see, whether it is an OT or a PT, is qualified to treat your condition. If they are a CHT, it means they have had extra training and passed a rigorous exam to demonstrate their skill. If they are an OT or a PT, they may still treat hand and arm conditions, but you should ask questions to ensure they have spent extra time after their formal education learning about the hand and arm. To find a hand therapist near you, click here.
from The New York Times
Avocados may seem harmless, but if you’ve ever peeled and cut one, you know they can be more than a little troublesome. They’re slippery, they’re oddly shaped, and they have that annoying pit in the middle that rarely slips out as easily as you’d like.
These characteristics have earned the avocado a reputation as one of the most dangerous foods to cut. Just recently, the wife of a colleague here at The New York Times was slicing an avocado when she suffered a cut so deep she had to be taken to the emergency room.
Medical professionals and hospitals in the United States don’t track kitchen injuries by ingredient, but anecdotally, doctors say they see a number of avocado-related cooking injuries annually — enough to notice.