A while back, before Christmas, I wrote a post about the trouble with my thumb. I thought at the time that it might be a repetitive stress injury and I had three sessions of physiotherapy for it. It improved somewhat but continued to be swollen and sore, and eventually I mentioned it to the GP (general practitioner = doctor for readers outside the UK) in early March when I went to see him about something else. He sent me off to get an X-ray of it, a very fast and efficient procedure, but when this came back it showed nothing unusual. The GP then referred me to the Musculoskeletal clinic – I know it’s different in other countries but here in the National Health Service system all referrals go through the GP . After a while I received a letter to tell me that I’d have to wait six to eight weeks for an appointment, so I wasn’t expecting anything to happen quickly. This is fair enough really – in the greater scheme of things my sore thumb isn’t much of a priority – and I didn’t mind waiting. But yesterday I got a phone call from the clinic to say that someone had cancelled an appointment and I could have it if I could get there for 3.15pm. So I did.
The doctor examined the thumb very carefully, and gave it as his opinion that the problem is arthritis. This didn’t surprise me too much as I’d started to suspect this might be the case. He gave me useful advice about exercises and ice treatment, and I went away happy that it wasn’t anything worse. However, it does look as though this is going to continue to be a problem and I’ll have to take care with it. I’m still toying with the idea of learning to sew, write and draw with my left hand. When the problem first occurred, last November, it took me about a fortnight to learn to use the computer mouse with my left hand and now this is the one I use automatically. Being ambidextrous in everything would be really useful, and it would help a lot to be able to rest any sore fingers and thumbs. But it’s an investment of time. I suspect it would take a lot more than a fortnight to learn all the very fine motor movements involved in stitching or drawing.
The go-to solution for arthritis in our household is cider vinegar. My husband suffered from severe and debilitating arthritis while still in his 30s, and tried all sorts of remedies, conventional, natural and, frankly, bizarre. The one that really helped and which has kept arthritis at bay for him is a mixture of cider vinegar and honey. This remedy is not generally accepted in conventional medicine, but there’s plenty of anecdote to support its effectiveness. For example, Sir Ranulph Fiennes speaks highly of it. So I’ll give this a go. It’s supposed by its supporters to cure all sorts of things, and to help people lose weight. I’ve tried it at times to help with weight control and have to say I’ve not noticed much difference, but now I’ve got my very own case of arthritis to treat. Lucky me.
Does anyone reading have any experience of arthritis in their thumb that they’d like to share? If so, please leave a comment or drop me a line.