April 11th, 2008


My stenosing tenosynovitis

Tomorrow I get surgery on my left thumb for stenosing tenosynovitis, or "trigger thumb." The tendon in my thumb has nodules on it, and the sheath around it in the metacarpophalangeal joint (second from the top) is swollen, and as a result I can't bend my thumb -- or rather I can, but it snaps like a trigger when I do, and it hurts like hell.

Medicine and a splint didn't cure it, so instead the sheath that is restricting the tendon will be cut open tomorrow in outpatient surgery.

I wish I could say I got the problem from being far too productive and typing too much, but I'm only moderately productive, and the problem is usually idiopathic, anyway. As Dr. House said, the idiopathic "comes from the Latin, meaning we're idiots, because we don't know what's causing it."

All this is less exciting than it sounds, except that I get to do it in Spanish. ("House" is a popular TV show here.) I will report back when the anesthesia wears off and any bandages are removed so I can type with two hands. Meanwhile, my husband gets to do all the housework, and I can't eat or drink anything after 7:30 a.m. tomorrow, so I'm getting up early for breakfast.

For a good explanation with helpful sketches, read the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons article: Trigger Finger http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=A00024&return_link=0

For more than you want to know, including surgery photos, go to eMedicine: Trigger Thumb http://www.emedicine.com/orthoped/topic571.htm