problem with thumbs after CT op


Hi I'm new to the site, came across it while trying to get info in my problem, would be interesting to know if anyone has had this problem before.....sorry if it’s a long winded article I'm not too good at explaining things in a few sentences..

I'm not sure what to do... i have had CT op’s on both hands 1st was fine bit of pain but not too much, I was expecting more... after the 1st op (October 2011) on my left hand, I went back and had the normal check to make sure everything was OK, think about 8 week after op, was so pleased as all the pains an pins and needles had disappeared, but my thumb was still quite painful it felt like it was still very bruised, I told the consultant this an he said it was to be expected and did I still want my other hand done, to which I said yes, So my right hand was done in May 2012.. My thumb was still tender on the left hand when this was done, I maybe should of mentioned this but didn't think it was the time to do it, I thought I may as well wait for the post op check for the newly done hand.

The thumb on my left hand started to get stuck, it felt really strange I would bend it and it would stay like that but if I really tried to move it, it would ping up with a really strange and uncomfortable feeling.. That’s the only way I can describe it…
Everything was good with my other hand after the op..(all CT symptoms gone) again it was tender around the thumb but I know I was told this was to be expected.. Went for my check up after the op … I saw the surgeon at this time, I told her about my left thumb being painful still and it getting stuck, she called it trigger thumb, an said it can happen after a op sometimes, said I could make a appt with my doctor and he could give me a injection (think it was a steroid one) this should help it…also she put me through for physiotherapy ( I don’t know if everyone has this who has had CT op’s?).

My right thumb also felt very bruised still, right at the base of it, which is exactly the same as the left one did.. Another thing I had noticed was that my thumbs had so much less movement with them than before the op… Sounds really silly but myself my son an 1 of my daughters had these thumbs which we called banana thumbs as they bent backwards so much they would almost touch out wrists…it was a bit of a joke with us an used to get the micky taken about it. But now my thumbs have no movement backwards they don’t curve they are straight (they can move forwards but I can feel it, not painful but a bit of a bruised feeling) my daughter says they look like they have been put on my hands at a funny angle. I got appointment though for my physio when I saw the lady she wanted to put it down to arthritis she said the op can sometimes do this.. I really didn't believe this it was too strange for both of the thumbs to go the same..
I said I wish I hadn't had the op done as my thumbs were more painful now and there was a lot of everyday things that I couldn't do properly now, but they still went with the arthritis, I had some splints given me to wear an exercises to do… had another few appt's with them measuring movement in the thumbs . Always forward not backward movements I had told them about the banana thumb lol…
Anyway the lady I usually saw was off I think it was my 4th visit so I had to see another person.. she definitely didn't think it was arthritis, she thought a tendon was caught somewhere, and made me a appointment to have a cortisone injection in my left hand to see if that would help, I had that done and it didn't make any difference.

By this time now my right hand thumb had started to get stuck like the other but worse it got very painful to get un-stuck, also if I knocked it in a certain way I have a shooting pain that actually makes me jump when it happens….and again there is no backward movement with this thumb it is actually worse that the left hand one ever was.
I can’t do anything that has to put pressure on it like peeling veg, pegging washing out, child's safety seat catch (look after my 2 yo granddaughter ) getting heavy things out of the oven..I used to look after my daughters horse sometimes but I cant do that now as I cant muck out and if the horse was to be a bit naughty I couldn't hold the lead rope tight enough.. lots of everyday things its so frustrating also annoying not to be able to do these things any more…

The last time I went to physio I was told they were referring me back to the surgeon.. Which was November last year.. she did say I should hear something in about 3 weeks.. Since it was coming up for Christmas I left it as I hadn't heard anything,, I still haven’t had anything through.. I did phone up the physio but the lady wasn't there who said it should take about 3 weeks… do I wait ?? I have no number to contact anyone with other than the lady who twice now hasn't been there from the phisio.. thanx CT


You are giving a very good description of trigger digits - this can happen to any finger but in your case it is your thumbs. There may or may not be a bit of arthritis of the thumb joints too, and possibly also some of the complications of carpal tunnel decompression - hard to tell without being able to examine the hand. There is a very strong association between trigger digits and carpal tunnel syndrome. Either one can appear first but the two conditions are very often seen together though it does not appear that one causes the other, nor that treatment for CTS especially makes the trigger digits worse. Trigger digits usually respond well to steroid injection but sometimes also require surgery. A hand surgeon will be able to help and also establish whether there are other problems in the hand too. The last thing you might be describing is familial hypermobility - the ability to fold/extend your thumb right back parallel to the forearm runs in some families and can be associated with a variety of musculoskeletal symptoms - again one really needs to be able to examine you.

I'll remove your other posting. JB


thank you

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