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Date of last update: 8/21/2017.

Forum Name: Rheumatology Topics

Question: "Locking" thumbs with no idea why!!

 sugarsharon - Sun Oct 28, 2007 3:59 am

Good morning. I'm a 48 year old female with diabetes (last A1C at 6.0 three months ago) that has had a problem during the past month with my left thumb locking up, almost feeling out of joint, while I sleep. There is no pain involved, just a 'heaviness' in the joint that sometimes I can pull to pop it, but other times it remains that way for a few hours.

I thought it may be from the way I was sleeping in bed, but last night purposely slept on the recliner and awoke this morning with the same thing. It is not 'locked' in the sense that I would consider locked. It just seems to feel out of joint.

Unfortunately I have no family history as I am adopted, but as a child broke all of my fingers (and toes) being very active in sports.

I am right handed so my left is not used as much. No changes in my physical activity have recently occurred. I'm on Weight Watchers (for the past year) so my diet consists of a lot of whole foods and good nutrition with only good fats to facilitate my body. The only thing that has changed is that I have stopped working in the corporate world and am running a very small business with my husband - enjoying every minute of it!

As this is my first post, I've included everything that I can think of. I'd appreciate any information that you can give before I see a doctor - if I need to. I see so many specialists to keep my diabetes under tight control that I thought I'd try this avenue first.

Thanks so much for your expertise!!

 Dr. Chan Lowe - Thu Nov 01, 2007 10:44 pm

User avatar Hi Sugarsharon,

I'm not sure exactly what may be causing this. The description of it happening in the mornings sounds suspicious for rheumatoid arthritis but it seems that it would be an odd presentation to just affect one thumb and not have pain.

Similarly, osteoarthritis would be expected to be painful.

There may be a problem with one of the cartilage pads of the joint that is getting "caught" in the joint creating the locking sensation.

I would recommend you discuss this with your primary doctor. A good place to start would be doing some x-rays of the thumb to see if there are any bony problems.

Seeing an orthopedic specialist may also be beneficial.

Best wishes.

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