Mommy Thumb Burlington: A Common Condition Affecting New Mothers

What is Mommy Thumb?

Mommy thumb, also known as de Quervain’s tenosynovitis, is a painful condition that affects the tendons in the wrist and thumb area. It’s a common issue among new mothers, as the repetitive motions of lifting, carrying, and caring for a baby can put significant strain on the wrist and thumb tendons.

Symptoms of Mommy Thumb in Burlington, ON

The primary symptom of mommy thumb is pain and swelling at the base of the thumb, where the thumb meets the wrist. Other common symptoms include:

  • Difficulty moving the thumb or making a fist
  • Stiffness or a “catching” sensation when moving the thumb
  • Numbness or tingling in the thumb or wrist area

Causes of Mommy Thumb

The main cause of mommy thumb is the repetitive stress and strain placed on the wrist and thumb tendons during the daily tasks of caring for a newborn. Some specific activities that can contribute to the condition include:

  • Lifting and carrying the baby
  • Changing diapers
  • Breastfeeding or bottle-feeding
  • Pushing a stroller or carrying a car seat

Risk Factors

While any new mother can develop mommy thumb, some factors may increase the risk, such as:

  • Previous wrist or thumb injuries
  • Poor posture or body mechanics while caring for the baby
  • Repetitive gripping or grasping motions
  • Hormonal changes during pregnancy and breastfeeding

Treatment Options for Mommy Thumb in Burlington

The good news is that mommy thumb is treatable, and with proper care, most women can find relief and regain full use of their thumb and wrist. Here are some common treatment options:

  1. Rest and Immobilization: Resting the affected hand and wearing a splint or brace can help reduce pain and inflammation.
  2. Ice and Anti-inflammatory Medication: Applying ice packs and taking over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications can help alleviate swelling and discomfort.
  3. Physical Therapy: Working with a licensed physiotherapist can help strengthen the affected area, improve range of motion, and learn proper body mechanics to prevent further strain.
  4. Steroid Injections: In some cases, a corticosteroid injection may be recommended to reduce inflammation and provide relief.
  5. Surgery: In severe or persistent cases, surgery may be required to release the inflamed tendon sheath.

Tips for Preventing Mommy Thumb in Burlington, ON

While it’s not always possible to avoid mommy thumb entirely, there are steps you can take to reduce your risk and prevent further aggravation:

  1. Practice proper body mechanics when lifting, carrying, and caring for your baby.
  2. Take frequent breaks and switch hands when possible.
  3. Wear a splint or brace to support your wrist and thumb when performing repetitive tasks.
  4. Stretch and exercise your wrists and hands regularly to maintain flexibility and strength.
  5. Maintain good posture and avoid positions that put unnecessary strain on your wrists and thumbs.


How long does mommy thumb last?

The duration of mommy thumb can vary, but with proper treatment and rest, most cases resolve within 4-6 weeks. However, some cases may take longer to heal completely.

Is mommy thumb only for new mothers?

No, mommy thumb can affect anyone who performs repetitive motions or activities that strain the wrist and thumb tendons. However, it’s especially common among new mothers due to the demands of caring for a newborn.

Can I still breastfeed with mommy thumb?

Yes, it’s generally safe to continue breastfeeding with mommy thumb. Your physiotherapist can provide tips and techniques to help you find comfortable positions and support your wrist and thumb during feedings.

Will I need surgery for mommy thumb?

Most cases of mommy thumb can be treated with conservative measures, such as rest, splinting, and physical therapy. Surgery is typically only recommended for severe or persistent cases that do not respond to other treatments.

Can mommy thumb be prevented?

While it’s not always possible to prevent mommy thumb, practicing good body mechanics, taking frequent breaks, and wearing a splint or brace can help reduce your risk.

About the Author

Annet Abraham, BPT, is a registered physiotherapist with years of experience at PhysioLinks Rehab in Burlington, ON. She specializes in treating musculoskeletal conditions, including mommy thumb, and is passionate about helping new mothers recover and regain their functional abilities.

At PhysioLinks Rehab, we understand the unique challenges faced by new mothers and offer personalized treatment plans tailored to your specific needs. Our team of experienced physiotherapy Burlington experts will work with you to alleviate your symptoms, improve your strength and flexibility, and provide education on proper body mechanics to prevent further strain or injury.

If you’re a new mother struggling with mommy thumb or any other condition related to the demands of caring for your baby, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. We’re here to help you find relief and get back to enjoying this special time with your little one. Contact us today to schedule your appointment and take the first step toward a healthier, happier you.

Visit our GMBs to see which location is closest to you!