The good news is, Trigger Thumb can be prevented, and depending on how far along you are in the process, reversed.
At the very least, you can maintain your Trigger Thumbs exactly where they're at, meaning that you can keep your thumbs from getting worse.
The 'Trigger' dynamic is made up of the same factors that cause Tendonitis and Tenosynovitis...nutritional deficiency, TOO TIGHT muscle and connective tissue, inflammation, etc.
If you're in the beginning stages of the thumb 'clicking', or even if it's pretty bad, as long as you're not at the point where the thumb is deformed, then chances are high that with the right self care you can save your thumb.
Trigger Thumb Symptoms
"Do I have Trigger Thumb?"
"How do I know if I have Trigger Thumb?"
Trigger finger and thumb symptoms:
** Thumb pain anywhere from thumb pad to tip of thumb
** Thumb joint pain, usually the joint where you bend your thumb (as opposed to the one where your thumb meets your hand)
** Burning pain in thumb
** Growth of hard tissue in the thumb joint, including enlargement of the thumb joint
** Movement of the thumb joint causes a 'catch'. Meaning you try to move it and at a certain point it won't continue to move, like it gets stuck. Then when you continue to try to flex or extend it, it suddenly pops free.
The only symptom that truly belongs to a Trigger Finger and Thumb dynamic is when moving your thumb it catches, won't move, and then suddenly moves.
What causes Trigger Thumb?
"How do you get Trigger Thumb?"
It doesn't just show up by accident.
Thumb issues of the Trigger variety only show up for two reasons:
1. Nutritional Deficiency
2. The Tendonitis Dynamic
A. If you're short on magnesium you can't utilize your calcium optimally. And the body can and does express calcium when it's short on magnesium.
Lack of Magnesium causes muscles to get and stay tight. And those muscles pull and compress the thumb joint, which causes the body to make it 'stronger' by building up bone and tough connective tissue tissue to help withstand the compression.
B. Lack of Vitamin B6 and B12 cause all sorts of problems (inability to utilize magnesium, see: Carpal Tunnel and Vitamin B6 Deficiency, pain, etc.
Remember, the body doesn't like pain. If it feels pain from B6 deficiency or calcium buildup being where it shouldn't be, it will react in ways that cause you more pain (it IS try to help, bless it's heart).
The Tendonitis Dynamic
First, read this page to understand the Tendonitis dynamic: What Is Tendonitis
Then this page to understand how tightness and inflammation build up over time to create pain and problem (and the conditions that cause Trigger Thumb). See: Pain Causing Dynamic
Essentially, over time your muscles get tighter and tighter. Connective tissue constricts down. Magnesium deficiency develops, a Process of Inflammation builds up, Inflammation Causes Vitamin B6 Deficiency, your thumb joint gets compressed and stays that way.
Your nervous system thinks you are under attack and tries to protect you with more tightness and inflammation. The feedback loop feeds on itself and continues to get worse and worse.
Gluten Intolerance and Trigger Thumb
Gluten Intolerance is a HUGE player in Trigger Finger and Thumb situations.
Gluten intolerance creates Leaky Gut, nutritional deficiency, and inflammation.
Gluten intolerance is a major factor in Rheumatoid Arthritis and auto-immune issues (that often affect the joints).
So an important question to ask, is, "Do I have Auto-Immune Disorder Symptoms or do I have a real 'trigger' problem in my thumb">
Trigger thumb release surgery is the favorite therapy option for surgeons, for obvious reasons.
My question with surgery is always, "Will it fix whatever CAUSED the thumb problem?"
If you're 80 years old and just want your thumb to work again, then it's not really an issue, get the surgery.
But if you're 40 or 50 or so and plan on living another 20-60 years, then chances are the trigger problem will eventually return.
Because the factors that caused it in the first place never got dealt with.
Before surgery doctors commonly send patients to PT for some stretching and strengthening and ultrasound. If that works for you, GREAT!
Skilled massage therapy is great for trigger thumb. If the therapist knows what they're doing, they can help A LOT to remove various negative factors that are affecting your thumb.
Make sure that you get enough Vitamin D, Vitamin B6, Vitamin B12, Magnesium. Make sure you get enough protein and good fat. And of course, stay hydrated with enough water.
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