Thumb pain comes in many varieties. In the mid 2000s the term blackberry thumb was used to describe smart phone texting overuse causing tendinitis and arthritis related pain in the thumb. Other causes for thumb pain include work activity that stresses the thumbs and hands. Certain sports activities can lead to thumb injuries. In addition there is a type of aggressive arthritis of the hands called inflammatory osteoarthritis that can lead to progressive and aggressive arthritis in the thumbs as well. Besides leading to difficulty texting your friends, thumb pain can also lead to difficulty with your normal activities of daily living such as cooking, cleaning, work, and exercise.
First line treatment for thumb pain includes attempting to make ergonomic and activity changes. This may include using dictation software preferentially over constantly typing texts and emails on your smart phone. Alternatively doing more of your typing on a laptop, desktop, or tablet computer where you can use your other fingers may help. Thumb splinting can help stabilize and reduce pain as well.
If the above treatments are inadequate, the next appropriate treatments to consider are the Regenexx treatments. Treatment approach to chronic thumb pain with Regenexx treatments include the following advanced platelet and bone marrow aspirate concentrate/stem cell treatment options.
Regenexx platelet rich plasma
-Injecting a high concentration of your own platelets into the arthritic thumb joints can help to reduce pain and the inflammatory mix present within a arthritic joint for a longer period of time then steroid injections.
-In addition injecting platelet rich plasma into the ligaments that support an arthritic joint can help to improve the stability within that joint. Even mild ligamentous strains and weakness can reduce joint stability and long term lead to progressive osteoarthritis in the joint. This is an additional and important area to treat in individuals with arthritis.
-In addition for those individuals that have chronic tendinitis in the thumb causing trigger finger, this can lead to thumb pain as well. An excellent approach to treating chronic soft tissue and tendon related pain includes platelet rich plasma.
Regenexx Platelet Lysate
It’s not uncommon for individuals with hand pain to have mild or worse median nerve neuropathy, also known as carpal tunnel syndrome. Also mild impingement of a nerve from the neck can occur if you have arthritis in the neck. In fact when you consider that pain is essentially a neurologic/sensory phenomenon, treating this nerve component is an important aspect in the treatment of arthritis related pain. The Regenexx platelet lysate treatment is a process that involves injecting the growth factors from your platelets around a chronically damaged nerve. These growth factors are helpful for nerve related pain. In addition in the setting of carpal tunnel syndrome injecting a large enough volume can help clear scar tissue that develops chronically around the nerve.
Regenexx bone marrow aspirate/same day stem cell treatment
This is a similar but stronger approach for treating arthritis compared to platelet rich plasma. Utilizing a similar approach to platelet treatments namely treating multiple components driving pain including arthritis, ligament instability, tendon, and nerve related components. This is another excellent approach to treating chronic thumb pain.
If you have thumb pain from using your smart phone or another cause, consider the Regenexx treatments if you are not improving with conservative first line management.
Disclaimer: Like all medical procedures, Regenexx Procedures have a success & failure rate. Not all patients will experience the same results.
Hand and Wrist Patient Outcome DataView Hand and Wrist Patient Outcome Data
This data was derived from a group of patients with mostly severe thumb arthritis who were injected with their own stem cells. Most of these patients would have been candidates for thumb joint replacement or a surgery where a tendon is coiled up in the joint at the base of the thumb. Both are big surgeries with significant complications.