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Forum of Massage Science
HomeHomeDiscussionsDiscussionsFORUM OF THERAP...FORUM OF THERAP...My thumb pads have been hurtingMy thumb pads have been hurting
New Post
9/19/2009 10:13 PM
My thumb pads have been hurting  (United States)

      My thumb pads have been hurting for several years. Sometimes my index fingers would ache and hurt. My thumb pads ache most times. When I use my thumbs on the Hamstrings or the Gastrocs, my thumbs hurt so bad I can hardly stand it. Sometimes I have sharp pains in them. It started with the left hand then the right hand. When I asked my massage instructor about the problem he said it was because of using my thumbs too much by showing me thumb movements. I was a Licensed Practical Nurse for several years and never had the problem with my thumbs. If I close my thumbs into my palms, I get sharp pains down my wrists. I have used deep pressure with one thumb on the other thumb pad and it hurts like the dickens! It sometimes hurts on the top part of the thumb pad. It is not Arthritis. I use my knuckles, forearms, elbows when I do massages. I have altered my massage techniques . I use my thumbs on the the Gastroc and Hamstring then use my Index and Middle finger on the sides of each muscle. I do not seem to have the strength to go very deep. When I get my hands massaged, it is very painful because of the position the thumb is placed in. I also do not have Carpel Tunnel problems. I am very aware of the correct positioning of my hands and yet they hurt as I give massages. They do not get numb. Someone once found a trigger point in my forearm that cause great pain in both the forearm and the thumb pad. But they never took the time to work on the problem.

      OK that is all I can tell you. I just desire to be able to be pain free in my thumbs and be able to give great massages! :)


New Post
9/25/2009 9:08 AM

The symptoms you described can be result of many causes. One needs to find original trigger to make a treatment successful. We may split the potential causes into two groups: reflex abnormalities and local abnormalities. Let’s go step by step. You may use our Video Library or Medical Massage Volume I textbook as a reference.
Reflex abnormalities
1. The thumb area is innervated by C6-C8 spinal nerves so check the spinous processes and the paravertebral areas of C7-T1. Apply direct pressure to the tip and sides of the spinous processes. Pay attention if the pressure there activates any sensations on the thumb (even weak and distant ones).
2. The Anterior Scalene Muscle Syndrome on the anterior neck can cause it as well. All necessary tests you may see in free section of our Video Library (in the menu on the left click on Anterior scalene Muscle Syndrome)
3. Pectoralis Minor Muscle Syndrome and Pronator Teres Muscle Syndrome may trigger these symptoms as well. The last one may explain the trigger points on the forearm someone found when examined you.
All these abnormalities may trigger your pain as a result of the pressure on the median and radial nerves. The fact that you don’t have numbness doesn’t mean anything. These symptoms may still be triggered by the pressure on one or both nerves. Only after these four abnormalities ruled out you may consider the pain in your thumbs as a local problem.
If during the evaluation of one of these areas (on the neck and upper extremity) the examiner was able to trigger even slight pain in your thumb the treatment protocol must address this area first.
Local abnormalcies:
1. De Quervain’s Disease may locally trigger these symptoms. However they will have tendency to locate on the radial side of the wrist with the radiation to the thumb
2. Active trigger points in the thenar muscles
3. Osteoarthritis (examine all joints of the thumb)
4. Periostitis of the shaft of the first metacarpal and/or proximal phalanx (move the thenar muscles away from the first metacarpal bones and apply pressure along detecting periostal trigger points)

Let us know results of your self examination and we will discuss treatment options
Oleg Bouimer

New Post
12/1/2009 6:33 AM

Hey Reikiangle,

This problem comes from just overworking the thumbs too quickly. Stick to the elbows and forearms until you settle it away and use hot water and squeezing a squash ball to exercise it and get strength into it.

The best point to target for the pain you experience is the radial nerve just above the elbow. You can work it with the fingertips of your other hand. You will find there is quite a bit of pressure like a lump there but hold and release the point (very sore) for a minute or so manipulating it gently by rolling your fingers forward to put it under pressure to release. You should follow this up with some deep tissue work all through the arm and shoulder/ neck area.

Good luck,

Steve Lockhart


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