The Mummy's Thumb
Even though it’s Halloween, Mummy’s Thumb has nothing to do with Halloween or an Egyptian tomb or Tom Cruise, unfortunately…but it is kind of scary! Did you know that simply lifting your sweet bundle of joy can cause you injury?!
Medically termed, De Quervain’s syndrome or De Quervain tendonitis named after the Doctor who discovered it, is caused by an inflammation of the tendons located on the thumb side of the wrist. You can also suffer from this syndrome when doing other repetitive activities but I will focus on the mother-related issues.
How To Know If You Have Mummy’s Thumb
If you have one or more of the following symptoms, sorry to say you got the Mummy’s Thumb:-
Pain & swelling near the base of the thumb.
Tenderness above the wrist when touched.
Difficulty with gripping, pinching, squeezing or moving your wrist from side to side.
Problems with lifting or carrying your baby or an object.
Restriction or ‘sticking’ sensation in the thumb or wrist with movement.
How To Prevent and Treat Mummy's Thumb at Home
It appears to be difficult to prevent Mummy’s thumb as statistics show that 90% of new moms suffer from the condition but the pain can be limited.
Wondering why fathers don’t suffer from it? Well, during pregnancy and when breastfeeding/pumping, our bodies produce the hormone called relaxin, which allows our joints to be more relaxed. Relaxed joints are necessary for labour but not so much for daily activities.
In my ‘vast’ experience, following these tips should be quite helpful:
Use a baby carrier to ease the strain.
Use a stroller whenever possible.
When lifting your baby, do a scoop with your hands under his bum instead of lifting with your thumbs stretched away from your index finger, the “L” shape.
Limit texting and smartphone use.
Use a wrist/thumb band.
Ice the base of thumb regularly and as soon as the symptoms occur.
Get your significant other to give you a hand massage or hell, just do it yourself!
Of course, visiting a doctor is always advised and recommended.
Exercises To Strengthen Your Wrist and Thumb
I found these exercises on www.ninenaturals.com and they have been quite beneficial to me.
1. Hold your hands out in front of you, similar to pushing a wall. Slowly rotate wrists clockwise and the counter-clockwise.
2. Press your palms into one another as though you are praying and extend your elbows out to the side. Now rotate your palms out as if pointing at something and back to the starting position.
3. With your palm facing up, make a fist and flex your wrist, with or without a weight, toward you and down away from you.
To me, the key to enduring minimal pain with Mummy’s thumb is being aware prior to having your baby. (Why was this not on my What to Expect app daily articles? It would have saved me from some unnecessary pain!)
How are you dealing with the pain?
Vasanti Maharaj is a Work at Home Mom to a June 2017 baby boy! Her life currently revolves around him…(sorry husband, lol) and so she decided to share her adventures and misadventures in motherhood. She hopes that these experiences and tips are helpful. Follow her @mummyhood_and_things.