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Why is Thumb Pain Such a Pain? An Introduction to Dynamic Stability of the Thumb

presented by Virginia O'Brien, OTD, OTR/L, CHT

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Satisfactory completion requirements: All disciplines must complete learning assessments to be awarded credit, no minimum score required unless otherwise specified within the course.

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Why is the thumb such a pain? Thumb pain is a common complaint that requires careful assessment and innovative therapy. Thumb pain, due to any injury or pathology, impacts participation in every area of occupational and functional performance: ADLs, rest & sleep, work, leisure and social participation. This course presents an evidence-based dynamic stability conservative management program which will improve the anatomical and biomechanical understanding of the thumb, enhance the therapeutic use of self to advise and consult in the biomechanical knowledge of pain-free use of the thumb as well as identify and facilitate proper motor patterns. This innovative approach presents essential components necessary to facilitate life-long dynamic thumb stability and joint health.

CHTs, when submitting this for recertification through HTCC, this course can be used for CAT B (hand therapy courses < 3 hours in length); however, if this course certificate is submitted with the following course certificates listed below (or any combination totaling 3 hours or more), they can be submitted under CAT A (hand therapy courses > 3 hours in length).

  • Evaluation of the Thumb (1 hour)
  • Why is Thumb Pain Such a Pain? An Introduction to Dynamic Stability of the Thumb (2 hours)
  • Saving Your Thumbs: Elastic Taping, Customizing Orthosis, Joint Protection Techniques, and Adaptive Equipment (1 hour)
  • o What About a Thumb Orthosis? (2 hours)
  • Meet Your Instructor

    Virginia O'Brien, OTD, OTR/L, CHT

    A graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Rocky Mountain University of Health Professions (Provo, Utah), Virginia first became interested in hand architecture during her fieldwork days. She is actively involved in clinical and biomechanical research of the thumb and the wrist, is a member of the AOTA Evidence Exchange committee and a member of…

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    Chapters & Learning Objectives

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    1. Why is Thumb Pain such a PAIN? An Introduction to Dynamic Stability of the Painful Thumb

    The thumb is a unique member of the hand, so what causes it to have pain? The loss of “Dynamic Stability of the Thumb” and the onset of thumb pain can be complex in origin. Intervention is not just a thumb orthosis. Chapter One will review what the various thumb pains can be, and why it is essential that the thumb be fully evaluated and assessed for its impairment of functional use.

    2. Why Does the Thumb Hurt Here?

    Why does the thumb hurt here? That is the question we as therapists need to answer when our patients come in with painful thumbs. Is it always a disease process? Is it always trauma? What happens if it is only a history of trauma? Or can it be from a muscle imbalance that causes the thumb to get off track, to put it in layman’s terms?

    3. Anatomy, Biomechanics & Pathophysiology

    This chapter reviews the anatomy and biomechanics of the normal thumb, and the pathoanatomy and pathophysiology of thumb pain.

    4. Muscular Anatomy and Kinematics

    In addition to anatomy, this chapter will give an introduction and overview of the dynamic stabilizers and potential destabilizers of the thumb.

    5. Theories of Deformity, Pain, and the Physician’s Role in CMC Care

    The final chapter of this course will cover theories of deformity and related anatomical structures of the thumb and how they are related to its normal or abnormal movement.

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