According to U.S. government statistics, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) affects more than 8 million Americans. However, many of those 8 million people may have been misdiagnosed. Dr. John K. Krebs, a board-certified hand surgeon with the Center for Orthopedics in Sheffield Village, OH, says that some of these people might actually have basil joint arthritis.
Basal joint arthritis affects the carpo-metacarpal (CMC) joint of the thumb. “CMC arthritis is probably the most common form of arthritis in the upper extremities,” says Dr. Krebs. “But many patients with arthritis in the basal joint of the thumb are misdiagnosed as having carpal tunnel syndrome.”
“With carpal tunnel syndrome, the main complaint is numbness that wakes the patient up at night or that gets worse with certain activities,” says Dr. Krebs. “It’s not necessarily pain in the thumb. With CTS if you’re going to have pain, it’s going to be in the whole hand, and there could be numbness involving the thumb, index finger and middle finger. Symptoms of CMC arthritis include pain and weakness in the lower part of the thumb near the wrist.
Like carpal tunnel syndrome, CMC arthritis is also usually related to repetitive strain from activities involving a lot of pinching or gripping motions. CMC arthritis is often found in adults over 40, including women who do a lot of fine intricate movements such as in needlework, knitting, etc., and in plumbers and mechanics with the repetitive use of tools such as wrenches.
However, CMC arthritis is now showing up in younger people as texter’s thumb. “Every pound of pressure caused by pushing a keypad with the thumb is magnified at the base of the thumb,” Dr. Krebs explained. “Multiply this by hundreds of keystrokes a day and the risk of thumb arthritis increases.”
It probably would be a good idea to pick up my UGLee Pen and just write someone a note, rather than texting so much! But I’m betting that texting is here to stay, as are other repetitive tasks, so when you do write something, consider using my ergonomically designed pen. You want to give your hand, thumb and fingers a rest whenever possible, and using my comfortable pen will certainly help do that.