May 17 2011 Ergonomics Newsletter
Thumb Pain - Arthritis or Tenosynovitis?
Thumb pain may be growing into an epidemic in today's world of mini and micro technology. What causes the pain? Amazingly, there are two main physical causes:
Thumb Arthritis and Thumb Tenosyovitis.
DeQuervain's tenosynovitis is now found in a young active population (armed services) at a rate of close to 1 in a 1000. Women had a significantly higher rate of de Quervain’s tenosynovitis at 2.8 cases per 1000 person-years, compared to men at 0.6 per 1000 person-years Studies have found that use of human growth hormone frequently resulted in a particularly aggressive type of DeQuervain's that generally requires surgery.
There are few recent articles that examine the rate of thumb arthritis, but one study quoted an 8% rate (eight in 100) among post-menopausal women. No rates were reported from younger populations.
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virginia hixson, Ergonomics Editor
Virginia Hixson is a Certified Professional Ergonomist and Project Manager working in the San Francisco Bay Area.
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