Dr. Kim explains the pain behind ‘mommy thumb’

ABC7’s The More in the Morning team spoke with Dr. Michael K. Kim, Board-Certified Plastic Surgeon, to explain the pain that some experience, usually called ‘mommy thumb.’ Severe pain due to inflammation in the back of the thumb and along the wrist can develop with frequent repetitive wrist motion. Many new mothers experience inflammation near the thumb and wrist from repeatedly lifting their heavy babies under their arms.

This condition, commonly called mommy thumb, is also medically known as De Quervain's tendinitis or tenosynoviti. It results from pointing up the thumb and wrapping the other fingers around the back of the heavy baby, which will cause inflammation in the tendons below the thumb.

What Causes De Quervain's tendinitis (Mommy Thumb)?

  1. Overuse of Wrist
  2. Direct Injury of Wrist or Tendon
  3. Arthritis

One common method of preventing mommy thumb is to lift the baby with palm. The trick to avoid straining the wrist is to use the palms instead of relying on the wrist in lifting up the baby. With the other hand in usual position, use each palm alternately. Cradle your baby using the forearm and fingers while relaxing the thumb to put less strain on your tendons.

diagram of De Quervain's tendinitis

Learn More About Dr. Michael K. Kim

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