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  Thumb (CMC joint) arthritis surgery
  Posted by: jsmarch on Oct-01-13 12:40 PM (EST)
   Category: unassigned 

Hi friends,

Am thinking about having my CMC joint replaced this winter as it is a pain in the *joint* paddling with a sore base of the thumb. Anyone had this surgery (any of the variations) and returned to paddling? Already had steroid shots, voltaren gel, icing: the less invasive criminals so am specifically asking about return to paddling: how long, rehab, successes, problems?



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Messages in this Topic


  I had surgical pinning of a Bennetts
  Posted by: ezwater on Oct-01-13 3:57 PM (EST)
fracture 40 years ago and it turned out well. But I don't know about joint replacement. Back then, replacement joints for digits were squidgy and insubstantial. So you want to ask about the ability of a replacement joint to take load and survive unexpected twisting.

Ironically, now my repaired thumb is fine, but I get "arthritic" pain in the corresponding left thumb.

Short of surgery, you might check out small diameter bent shaft paddles as an alternative to your GP. A proper bent shaft would take some strain off the joint at the base of the thumb. So would a smaller diameter shaft. A GP is a good alternative, though one custom made with a smaller shaft size might be best.
  if you go ahead with surgery........
  Posted by: bigspencer on Oct-01-13 6:00 PM (EST)
Might wanna give it time to heal totally and you want to go to a paddle with different sized/shaped shaft....essentially a different angle and hardness(again density) of wood against those bones/joint, at the particular points of contact.
  I don't have much to add
  Posted by: rjd9999 on Oct-03-13 1:03 PM (EST)
except to say that I am sorry to hear about your condition. All the advice I could give has been said, find a paddle shaft/design which allows you to not put pressure in the injured area of the thumb. Possibly, changing your grip in conjunction with this may provide a bit more protection from injury, but there is a caveat there.

As we learn to perform any activity, we develop muscle memory and habits about how to perform that activity. It takes a very concerted effort to make the necessary adjustment and, more importantly, to KEEP making that adjustment in times of stress.

For example, I know a cop who quickly changed the location of his 2nd pair of cuffs after he completely his training (he, and others on that force decided that the new location was more quickly and easily accessed). After a particularly violent arrest, he reached for that pair of cuffs in the location he'd been trained to find them and there was a hesitation while he fumbled around to finally extract them.

So, if in a situation where you need to, say, execute a brace or capsize, the question becomes one of have you trained enough to ensure that you don't revert to a motion that would force you to rely upon that injured thumb - and worse - would you aggravate the contition or be unable to execute the move due to the pain of injury? I've had to address these questions myself, which is why I no longer can do some of the activities I once enjoyed.

It is possible that a thumb splint might help both protect you from pain and also add support for the digit during rehab and/or retraining your paddling technique. It is also possible that a thick neoprene glove on that hand might help (it would provide both support and would limit your ability to clench down hard with that thumb. Such a glove may or may not cause additional pain, I've had injuries where my diving gloves were a wonderful protection, but putting it on and off was an exercise in rather intense pain.

Wish you the best.

  Very Sorry About the Pain
  Posted by: Kudzu on Oct-03-13 4:46 PM (EST)
No, I haven't had the surgery. I'm just thinking that some very padded gloves might help paddling during recovery. Best of luck.
  Did you have the surgery?
  Posted by: nashvillechick on Aug-29-14 12:25 AM (EST)
I have the same issue and need the surgery, but am afraid to have it. I do kayak with full finger paddling gloves, which help. I've got a bad habit of gripping my paddle too tight, which I'm sure only makes things worse...working on changing that. I was out today using a friend's straight shaft paddle and noticed some new pain in my wrists and base of thumb, so will go back to a bent shaft. If you've had the surgery, I'd love to know how it and your recovery went!


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