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"Why am I losing grip strength in my thumb and have pain when grasping objects?"


I am fifty-two year old woman who works at a computer all day for a living. I first noticed the pain when trying to pull the clutch on my motorcycle. It gradually has gotten worse and causes pain when trying to open jars, button my shirts, etc. The pain starts at the base of my thumb and radiates up into the other joints. This has been ongoing for over a year and gradually gotten worse. I have tried over-the-counter anti-inflammatory drugs and they do not help.


There are some further details that would be very helpful here. Have the issues of strength and pain occurred in both thumbs or just one? Does the pain radiate to all the joints of all the fingers, just the first three, or just into the thumb? Have you noticed any muscle wasting along the fleshy part of your hand by the thumb? These are all important questions to think about and bring up with your your primary care doctor. From the history that you are describing, working at a computer all day and riding on a motorcycle, these activities put you at risk for developing carpal tunnel syndrome.

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It is important that you be evaluated by your primary care doctor who will best be able to evaluate your medical history, and presenting symptoms and decide upon the appropriate work up for this. The work up may include imaging studies or lab tests, and they may decide to refer you to a specialist. If this is carpal tunnel syndrome, then treatment options vary and can start with conservative management including wrist splints and pain medications, to surgical procedures to decrease the pressure on the nerve.

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