Thumb Joint Pain

Thumb Joint Pain is a common complaint.

Via thumb injury to all ages, and arthritis and trigger thumb and thumb tendonitis middle aged and up.

Mostly doctors give a diagnosis and advise rest, splints, corticosteroid injections, anti-inflammatory drugs like Ibuprofen, etc.

And then that doesn't work and you're left with chronic thumb pain and a certain amount of hopelessness.

The good news is, the causes of the majority of thumb pain is fully reversible.

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Causes Of Thumb Joint Pain

There are multiple causes of thumb joint pain..some direct and some indirect.

  • Arthritis
  • Thumb Injury
  • Thumb Tendonitis
  • Trigger Thumb


Arthritis can show up in the thumb just like it can show up anywhere else.

Whether from auto-immune response or the wear and tear from structural dysfunction, arthritis can hurt and/or damage one or more thumb joints.

See:  What Is Arthritis?

See:  Osteoarthritis vs. Rheumatoid Arthritis

Thumb Injury

Sports injury, getting your thumb smashed in a car door, falling down and landing on the thumb, etc, anything with impact can cause a thumb injury.

In this category, 'injury' can be anything from a joint or bone bruise, to a ligament tear, to a crushing injury (by far the worst).

See:  Thumb Injury

Thumb Tendonitis

Thumb Tendonitis and DeQuervain's Tendonitis (a fancy name for thumb tendonitis can cause pain and problem with the joint itself.

A prime factor of tendonitis is (chronic) tightness of muscle and connective tissue.

But that tightness compresses joints.   Imagine if you push your thumb straight into a wall for 6 months.  Do you think that would hurt before too long?  

Do it for 5 minutes and see how the joint feels.

Having thumb tendonitis is bad enough.  But it gets worse when one or more of the joints of your thumb get aggravated, irritated, inflamed, and painful.

See:  Thumb Tendonitis

Trigger Thumb

Trigger thumb is a scenario where, long story short, a chronic tendonitis dynamic causes the tendon and tendon sheath along the thumb (joint) to swell and then thicken.

Eventually this causes a permanent thickening and hardening, and the the bone of the thumb joint starts to deform as well.

It's reversible if you catch it early enough.

See:  Trigger Thumb

Thumb Joint Pain Symptoms

You already know what the symptoms are if you have a painful thumb joint.

  • Pain
  • 'Warm' joint
  • Ache
  • Reduced range of motion
  • 'Creaking' or 'squeaking' or 'grinding' noise with movement
  • Sudden 'pop' when trying to move but it won't then it suddenly does.

Pain Symptoms Don't Require An Injury

The Process of Inflammation is a primary source of pain signal.

It can cause DISABLING amounts of pain...even with zero actual injury.

Mostly we think that if we hurt there must be an injury.  But that is not the case.

One can have disabling pain with no injury.  Or disabling pain with injury.

Ideally it's better to have thumb joint pain without injury.

Having said that, with or without injury, you can lower pain levels naturally pretty easily.  Takes some time and effort, but it's just a matter of reversing the Pain Causing Dynamic.

Thumb Joint Pain Breakdown

If you have thumb joint pain, here are the questions to ask:

  • What was the initial cause of pain?
  • How long has it been hurting?
  • What have I done for self care that has helped, that has not helped?

What Was The Initial Cause Of Thumb Joint Pain?

Impact injury (sports injury, fall injury, jammed against a hard object, smashed in a door or equivalent, bent too far in a wrong direction)?

That's a clear cut injury (rip, tear, or crush).

Slow over time increase in pain and other symptoms?

That's something in the thumb tendonitis realm of cause and effect.

If it comes on slow, pain in a thumb joint is the result of muscle dysfunction, inflammation, tightness, lack of nutrition, etc.

How Long Has The Thumb Joint Been Hurting?

If it's been hurting more than a month, then you need to pay attention and start putting in effort to make it better.  Because it's probably going to keep hurting for a long time.

What Have I Done For Self Care That Has Helped Or That Hasn't Helped?

Make a list of what you've tried that has helped and what hasn't.

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