New moms, do you ever get a searing pain in your thumb?
If so, it may be Dequervain's syndrome, also known as "Mommy's Thumb."
It affects thousands of women around the country, yet many have never heard of it.
A physical therapist here tells 14 News she sees an average of one to two outpatients with Dequervain's a week at this clinic alone.
Kim Whitmore, an occupational therapist at St. Mary's Rehab Department says Dequarvain's can happen to anyone, but in the case of mothers, she says it typically happens because of changes to the body postpartum.
Whitmore says ligaments can become more lax and repetitive motions, like picking up your child or feeding it with a bottle can make symptoms worse.
To treat it, Whitmore says a patient's hand is usually put in a splint for 6 to 8 weeks.
Sometimes anti-inflammatory medication is prescribed as well, but she says the most effective treatment is having a mom modify certain movements.
"What we encourage them to do is activities where their thumbs are tucked into their hands, so they're not extending and abducting the thumbs. They want to keep their thumbs close to the hands and they want to use a scooping type motions when picking up the infants so their using their palms and their forearms," says Whitmore.
She also says that when patients are holding children for longer periods of time, she recommends they position themselves so they can use gravity more than their arms.
Some other tips are to use pillows or positioning devices to help hold children.
Also, when feeding, Whitmore encourages mothers to be careful to not grip the bottle too tight and keep their wrists straight.
Finally, when carrying a baby on your hip, especially an older child, Whitmore encourages mothers to make sure they are not holding the infant with their wrists is an awkward position.
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