Avoid certain activities. To help reduce pain and swelling it is advised to avoid the activities that exacerbate your pain.
Use a splint. Your healthcare professional may suggest using a thumb splint. This will hold your thumb and wrist firm and still. Instructions on how long and when to use your splint may vary from practitioner to practitioner. But it is common to use it for a 4 to 6 week period.
Medication. over-the-counter pain relievers like ibuprofen or naproxen are used to reduce the pain and swelling. Talk to your doctor for more advice and information on suitable medication.
If medication doesn’t work, your doctor may suggest trying a steroid injection into the thumb. This type of injection is used to help reduce the swelling and pain felt around the thumb.
Hot and cold therapy. Using a hot compress or a cold compress on the area can help with the reduction of inflammation. This can then help improve the movement of the thumb.
Manual Therapy – manual therapy may be advised to help release and relax the tight musculature that is causing your pain. During your treatment your therapist may also look at any mechanical imbalances in your body that may be affecting the way that you’re using your affected arm and wrist. Exercises will be prescribed to help stretch and strengthen your hand and wrist. This will help to improve your hand function.
Surgery. If the previous treatments do not work your doctor may refer you to a specialist hand consultant. The goal of surgery is to relieve pressure of the tendon’s sheath which helps improve the sliding and movement of the tendon. It’s an outpatient operation, which means you can go home just afterward. It may then be recommended afterwards to see the physical therapist again for post-surgery exercises to strengthen your thumb and wrist.
Recovery from surgery is not instant and may take a while. Your pain and swelling should disappear quickly, but the area may be tender for several months. After a couple of weeks you should get your stitches removed. Then you’ll start physical therapy again for 6 up to 8 weeks.