Tendonitis (in my thumb)

I went to the GP yesterday because the pain in my thumb wasn’t going away. It was a normal cycle of stuff for me, started about 4 weeks ago, perhaps 5. A slight pain in my left hand, I get it every now and again, either hand. I use computers too much, it’s no surprise. Usually it’s in the wrist, but this time it was nearer my thumb. Anyway I used the compression bandage we have for a few days, but it didn’t really help. In fact, it seemed to make it hurt more (which I can understand now, knowing where the injury is). So I took it off, and left it for a week or so. That’s my initial – it’ll get better and go away on it’s own – cycle. 99% of the ailments I get do that.

But this one didn’t. So, I spent a couple of days looking around on the web. It’s worth saying that I’d chatted to Grete and we’d both concluded it was Tendonitis. I’d taken some Ibuprofen and it helped a little. Anyway, I did some searching and some checking, but couldn’t find anything specific. I found a couple of pages which had recommendations on bindings for thumb injuries. What was bugging me most was that the pain wasn’t always in the same place, wasn’t consistent, and didn’t seem in proportion to the amount of force I was exerting on the thumb.

We looked for hand/wrist supports with a thumb covering but couldn’t see any, so a few more days had passed. Eventually we found some binding tape in Tesco, like the stuff fabric plasters are made from but in a long reel. I bound my thumb, and then strapped around my hand down to the wrist. My thumb was still free to move, but bending motion was restricted and it was held straight ‘at rest’. More importantly, it reminded me that I had a sore thumb so I didn’t use it without thinking.

It was an instant relief. No random pain, still some pain trying to tie laces or buttons and stuff, but a lot better. Prolonged typing made it ache, and certain grasping actions were out of the question, but it was a great improvement. So, now to keep it bound during the day, free overnight, and let it rest until it goes away.

Which it didn’t.

If anything it was worse in the mornings, and unbound was very painful. So after a total of about five weeks I went to the GP. I didn’t feel bad it had been so long, I think it’s important to try and make yourself healthy, not just rely on someone else all the time for any old ache or pain that comes up. I described the pain, I could be pretty specific since I knew exactly where it hurt, doing what and what didn’t hurt. Tendonitis he concluded after a few moments (although, he’s an NHS doctor, so he actually said ‘it’s probably tendonitis and probably not anything else’, heaven forbid he get it wrong and someone suit him).

We then had what for me is a first. We reviewed all my medication. I’ve never had ‘medication’ before while suffering something else. Being diabetic means checking everything I’m on, making sure they aren’t the cause and making sure anything he prescribed wouldn’t react. It was ok, he was pleased at my sugar control (not my regular GP) and seemed happy I knew not only the names of my drugs but why I take them and what they do. I do wonder how many people just take what their given without understanding it.

Anyway, 3 x 50mg anti-inflammatories a day, on top of the 3 x 500mg metformin, 1 x 20mg simvstatin and 1 x aspirin. Yay, I feel more and more like a jar of pills.

Took one anti-inflammatory yesterday, and 2 so far today and …. it feels better. Using the thumb can still hurt, but it doesn’t hurt if I just rest it at an odd angle or catch the knuckle anywhere. Many people may have gone to their GP earlier, but I really feel that we owe it to ourselves and to the NHS to at least attempt to resolve these issues on our own first. I’m not saying we should have life threatening ilnesses quietly, or that we should ignore obviously serious issues (lumps, for example), but for aches and sore fingers, I don’t think we should expect the GP to be the first port of call, they’re already too busy.

4 thoughts on “Tendonitis (in my thumb)”

  1. We don’t even have nationalized health care and I still feel the same way you do. Symptom + Internet + Occam’s Razor often results in something that will go away on its own or with self treatment. It can’t be good for our health care system to overload doctors with allergies, colds, aches and pains.

  2. I tend to agree – although I think that sometimes my own reasons for either not going to see the doctor are more selfish. If I call to make an appointment to see my own GP then I know that it will generally be at least a week before I can see him. If I say to the receptionist that it is urgent then I might get to see him within 2-3 days. Of course, if I am prepared to see one of the other doctors in the practice I can get in more quickly – but one of them has been obnoxious to me in the past and so I avoid him (he was probably absolutely fine – but I prefer to regard him as obnoxious!!). I am wittering.

    My point is that very often within a week minor ailments are long gone.

    I think that you’ll find that Diclofenac will really help with your thumb. Marie periodically gets spasm / pain in her back and Diclofenac for a few days normally sorts that out for her.

  3. “Is your thumb pain better now?”

    Mostly, the serious pain that I ended up having in both hands eventually subsided, although I still suffer from twinges and ‘background’ pain. I guess the typing abuse my hands have suffered and the continual abuse they still suffer means I’m going to have to live with it.

Comments are closed.