Last Tuesday, I had an appointment with Dr. Blum for the pain that started really flaring up on the first day of school in my right thumb and wrist. After a week of pain, I was desperate for some help and a proper diagnosis. They took some x-rays of my right thumb/wrist area, and Dr. Blum performed a physical inspection.
The good news, is that he said my bones were good from the x-rays. So, I could rule out carpal tunnel or any kind of chronic condition, but the bad news, was that my thumb is slightly misaligned. He asked if I could remember injuring it bad enough to knock it out of alignment at some point in time, and I thought hard about the time I fell hard while running and caught the brunt of the impact with my right palm. It was the only thing I could recall doing to my thumb, and it happened about a year or so ago.
Among the options offered to me, was surgery, where they’d cut the ligament which had healed in an improper position, and realign the bone. I’d have to wear a cast on my hand/thumb area for about a month, and then a splint for a month after that. He said this untreated injury made arthritis setting into that area a high risk.
I was also offered the option to try a cortisone shot. I decided to go with the shot, and see if it helps, and if that fails to try the surgery.
There was something kinda cool about watching the Dr. inject the cortisone right into the joint. It wasn’t too uncomfortable to get the shot, and in the moments immediately following, I was pretty happy since there was some kind of numbing agent in the injection that made my thumb feel normal again for the first time in a long time! But, by the time I got home, that numbness was starting to wear off, and then my thumb and hand/wrist were just as sore as the week before. The pain lasted for about two days, and then started to subside. By the 3rd – 5th day, there was significantly less pain, but it was not gone completely from the base of my thumb joint when I performed certain movements. I was getting worried the cortisone just wasn’t going to be able to take away the pain, and that I’d have to ask about surgery.
Then, something cool happened last night, and I realized the pain was gone. My thumb felt normal on the 6th night after getting a cortisone injection. How long will this last? I have no idea… but plan to keep wearing the splints I’ve been wearing to help protect it (especially when sleeping).
He had said it might only last a month or a few months, and to let him know if/when the pain comes back. He said in some cases, the patient never experienced the pain again, so no surgery was necessary. My brother in law said I should ask about physical therapy if the pain comes back, and surgery should be a really last-resort option. I kinda agree with that thinking. The thought of surgery and wearing a cast on my hand sounds really disruptive to everyday life.