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should i be worried about arthritis?

By October 24, 2009 - 11:54pm
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hi, i'm 21 years old and i have noticed in my left hand... the finger joins were starting to acke like they got tired all of a suddon, but's only the left hand. i am a new mom, my son is about 10 months old, i do mainly all the house work as i am a stay at home mom. i usually hold things with my left hand and write with the right hand. just typing now my fingers get tired. should i be worried about arthritis or are there any hand exercizes i can do to help in the mean time?

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I forgot to answer your last question:
If your pain is due to a type of tendonitis, then yes...there are exercises you can do, as well as rest the area. I had to wear a removable splint on my wrist for about 4 weeks (day and night), as well as do some specific exercises given to me by the physical therapist. The pain took about 12 months to completely dissipate before I did not notice it any longer, whereas prior to the diagnosis, I was unable to pick up a carton of milk with my left hand because my thumb was too weak to grasp anything.

October 25, 2009 - 7:16am
(reply to Alison Beaver)

my dull pain is more in the knuckle areas, only when i hold a plate to wash. i do crack my knucles sometimes but not everyday, only to strech when i get a writers cramp. i don't write as often as i do type. i do the dishes most of the time, and other house hold chores that can be done by one person. i do get some help, but not as much i want. picking up my son is no problem, i cary him in my arms and sometimes use my hand to support more of his weight. and right now i have a sliver in between my thumb and index finger which is bugging up the diognostics, so i'll try agai n once my sliver is out. thanks for the advise. let me know if there is anything else i can do.

October 26, 2009 - 9:44am


Congratulations on your new son! :-)

Arthritis can always be a possibility depending on many factors (family history of this condition, for instance), but what is more likely is hand fatigue from the repetitive-movements that occur with taking care of an infant.

I am wondering if you are experiencing deQuervain's tenosynovitis:
- Difficulty moving your thumb and wrist when you're doing activities that involve grasping or pinching
- A "sticking" or "stop-and-go" sensation in your thumb when trying to move it

You will know if you have deQuervain's by a simple test that you can do right now (you can search "Finkelstein test" on YouTube to see this in action):
"The test most frequently used to diagnose de Quervain's disease is the Finkelstein test." When my son was an infant, I was diagnosed with deQuervains, and this is the test I performed with the physical therapist:
- Make a fist with your thumb placed in your palm
- Bend your fist at the wrist in a gentle downward motion (like you are shaking someone's hand, but with your thumb still inside your closed fist), with arm slightly extended away from you.
- "the swollen tendons are pulled through the tight space and stretched. If this movement is painful, you may have de Quervain's disease."

You can see the distinction between pain in thumb-side of wrist and top of wrist (scroll down to "Diagnosis" and review picture):

More links for deQuervain's:

If you do not experience pain on the thumb-side of your wrist(s), you may not have deQuervain's (of course, we can't diagnose you over the internet). Can you be more descriptive where the pain is located, when you notice it (during what activities, day/night), and what type of pain (pulsating, sharp, dull, ache).

Also, have you tried resting your left hand as much as possible, and if so, is the pain alleviated for a time? You may also want to ask someone else in your household or a friend to watch you pick up your son...my husband told me that I was using "the claw" to pick up my son (my hand was super-flexed and unnecessarily "claw-like" to hold him when he was an infant...and I had to repeatedly tell myself to relax my hand, and not hold all of his weight in my thumb, but use my arms more).

Let us know if this is on the right track, and if not, we'll help you narrow down the root of your pain. Hang in there!

October 25, 2009 - 7:14am
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