Find Out If You Are at Risk for Developing Mommy ThumbIt's estimated, almost 50% of new mothers experience a common condition, but many mothers have never even heard of it. What is this mysterious condition? Mommy Thumb. Recently, reported cases of Mommy Thumb have been on the rise. This common aliment for mothers to experience can often go misdiagnosed as another condition, but the complications of Mommy Thumb can actually become quite severe and even require surgery to treat. When left untreated, Mommy Thumb can make even the simplest of tasks nearly impossible due to the pain produced from the condition.
What is Mommy Thumb?
Mommy Thumb (De Quervain's tendonitis) results when the tendons of the thumb that continue down the wrist become inflamed, causing pain to travel through the thumb and radiate down the wrist. Mommy Thumb is the result of lifting children improperly.
Many mothers, myself included, reach down and place their thumbs in their child's armpits to lift them. This causes extra stain on the thumb and tendons. The heavier the child is, the more likely this condition will occur. The same goes for the lower down a child is lifted from. The repetitive motion of placing the thumb and index finger in the shape of an "L" to lift young children causes the pain and inflammation. While this condition can occur in anyone, research shows mothers over the age of 40 have an increased risk for developing Mommy Thumb.
Treating Mommy Thumb
In most cases, Mommy Thumb is not a serious condition and can easily be treated. However, in severe cases, surgery may be needed to relieve the symptoms. Treatment for most cases involves taking over-the-counter pain medications and anti-inflammatories. Often, it's recommended the area is rested and iced to relieve the pain and swelling that may occur.
A wrist brace may need to be worn as well. In serious cases, treatment may consist of steroid injections or occupational therapy. Splinting the area many also be needed. Severe cases of Mommy Thumb may need minor surgery to treat the condition.
Preventing Mommy Thumb
Mommy Thumb can be avoided by changing a few of your habits. When picking up your child, do not use your thumb and fingers. Instead, place your hands on both sides of their rib cage and gently squeeze the child to lift. Or, place one hand under the child's bottom and one behind their head to lift the child. Make sure you aren't bending down further than necessary. Remember to use your legs to lift heavier children and avoid bending your back or stooping while lifting your child.