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Trigger Point Therapy - Treating O/A Thumb

Posted by Judith Winer on

Arthritis Trigger Points

Trigger Points in the Opponens Pollicis and Abductor Pollicis muscles can be relatively simple to treat and can provide relief from the symptoms of O/A Thumb


Osteoarthritis can develop at any age but usually appears after age 45. The symptoms of OA thumb can often be addressed with trigger point therapy.

The “saddle joint” at the base of the thumb between the metacarpal and trapezium bones, often becomes arthritic with age. It is osteoarthritis, which is loss of the smooth cartilage surface covering the ends of the bones in the joints. The cartilage becomes thin and rough, and the bone ends can rub together.

Everyone with osteoarthritis (O/A) in his or her hands is affected differently. Some people do not experience much discomfort while others may notice that it is difficult to grip and lift things properly. Eventually the joint begins to appear swollen, enlarged, and “out of place.”

Osteoarthritis can develop at any age but usually appears after age 45. It may have an inherited/genetic component, and it sometimes follows a fracture involving the joint many years before.


Pain and tenderness to pressure are the most common symptoms


Common Symptoms

1. Pain at the base of the thumb aggravated by thumb use, especially pinching

2. Tenderness to pressure on the base of the thumb

3. Difficulty with tasks such as opening jars, turning a key in the lock, etc.

4. Stiffness of the thumb and some loss of ability to open the thumb away from the hand

5. In advanced cases, there is a bump at the base of the thumb, and the middle thumb joint may hyperextend, giving a zigzag appearance.


Hand and Wrist Trigger Points

Common Trigger Point Sites and Pain Patterns


Trigger Point Therapy

The main muscular trigger points associated with O/A in the thumb joint are the Opponens Pollicis and Abductor Pollicis muscles.

Another variation of thumb pain sometimes comes from trigger points in the Brachioradialis muscle, known as the “politician’s trigger point” as a result of shaking hands so often. Pain from Brachioradialis trigger points is referred to the wrist and the base of the thumb in the web space and is often wrongly diagnosed as O/A thumb.

This blog is intended to be used for information purposes only and is not intended to be used for medical diagnosis or treatment or to substitute for a medical diagnosis and/or treatment rendered or prescribed by a physician or competent healthcare professional. This information is designed as educational material, but should not be taken as a recommendation for treatment of any particular person or patient. Always consult your physician if you think you need treatment or if you feel unwell.









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