For some reason, it seems as though more people have been asking me about my thumb over the past couple of months than were asking me for the year and a half before that. As a result, people shake hands with me and then pull back apologetically, and I have a lot of conversations such as this:
“No, I don’t have carpal tunnel syndrome. My thumb is hypermobile in the carpal-metacarpal joint; as I understand it, the joint seems not to hold together well, so the bones shift around in ways that rub generate extra stress and wear. I have early indications of osteoarthritis in that joint, and if I don’t wear my splint the arthritis will probably get worse quicker. It usually doesn’t hurt much, if at all (though sometimes the joint catches and gives me a nasty pain) — it’s worst when I stress the joint by squeezing (as a key) and rotating (as a key) (or as scrubbing dishes, not that it gets me out of doing dishes, alas).”
I bought an off-the-shelf splint the other day, my first that wasn’t specially set for me by the occupational therapist I saw. It’s not ideal; I may want to go back to the OT and get another custom splint. For the time being, though, it helps immobilize the carpal-metacarpal joint, which is what protects the joint, and it doesn’t look too grimly dramatic. And if you read the blog, now you don’t need to ask me about my thumb.
(As soon as I saved this, someone came over to ask, “Do you have carpal tunnel?”)