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Linda Farmer, Certified Zentangle Teacher


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Tangle Refresher 114 – And a little bit about De Quervain’s Syndrome …

Tangle Refresher!I’m having problems with my “trick thumb” again.

About a year ago my right thumb had developed what my physician called De Quervain’s Syndrome otherwise known as trigger thumb where the top (distal) joint locks when bent. And being right-handed this is a problem not only for tangling but for picking up objects, and so on. {Plus it’s just a really creepy sensation.}

In my case trigger thumb was the result of an incident from about 5 years prior when, without thinking, I attempted to pick up a very large, very heavy pillar candle with just one hand and my thumb supporting all the weight — until it couldn’t. Result: a severe sprain and painful lesson learned.

Physically it had reached the point where I was having difficulty tangling, especially curves because the pen would reach a certain point on the way around and then my thumb — and therefore the nib — would “jump”. This made for rather neurotic-looking curves.

It took a few months for me to get over my paranoia about being referred to “a hand surgeon” and I was somewhat diligent about doing some exercises for it, but eventually I had to give in and this May I went to the specialist.

After x-rays she diagnosed the problem and gave me a local coritcosteroid injection which thankfully cleared things up — until about a month ago. It’s BAAAAACCCKKKK, and it seems worse to me.

So today as you’re reading this, I’m at the specialist for another consult and perhaps another injection. But worth it if it remedies the situation for another while.

Keep your fingers crossed, and never EVER try to pick up a heavy object with just one hand.

* * *

The Tangle Refresher series, aka Buried Treasure, spotlights hidden tangle gems from the past. It can remind you of tangles you might not have used for a while or introduce you to some you haven’t come across yet.

Here are five more tangle pattern gems and a Tangle Refresher from a year (or two) ago for your tangling pleasure. Remember to check out the “More Good Stuff” links below too. Zenful tangling!

BTW as you visit these tangles it would be great if you’d take a moment to leave a comment of thanks and encouragement for the tangler who’s shared with us, and please share the tangles with your followers on all your favorite social media. Thanks!

Buried Treasure from a year ago
Zentangle pattern: IX. Image © Linda Farmer and IX
Zentangle pattern: Gord. Image © Linda Farmer and Gord
Zentangle pattern: Uni. Image © Linda Farmer and Uni
Zentangle pattern: Pomx2. Image © Linda Farmer and Pomx2
Zentangle pattern: Crosco. Image © Linda Farmer and Croscro
Revisit the Tangle Refresher from a year ago Tangle Refresher 86

More good stuff …


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6 comments to Tangle Refresher 114 – And a little bit about De Quervain’s Syndrome …

  • Ouch, I’m so sorry to hear of your trigger thumb problem…sounds dreadful!!
    Your passionate warning is well accepted…it’s so easy to keep doing things we’ve always done without realizing our bodies and capabilities change over the years.
    Hoping the best for you!!

  • Marieke van Nimwegen

    Sorry to hear about your thumb-problems. I know exactly what you feel: I have the same problem, not only with my thumb but also with my middle and ring finger of the same (right) hand. I had the same problems with my other hand. In my case the cause is fibromyalgia and extreme muscle tension. As soon as my tangles become real weird 🙂 I know it is time for the next injection. They do work really well but unfortunately, after a few months the trigger thumb and fingers are always coming back again. But I am used to it now. I hope the best for you!

  • Linda Farmer, CZT

    Thanks for commiserating, ladies. And now I’m VERY thankful it’s just one digit, Marieke. I can’t imagine how that must feel when several are involved but as you say, you get used to it, and so shall I. 🙂

  • Kim Condas

    Linda, I’m so sorry to hear this! I developed De Quervains from holding a heavy book open with just one hand while I was nursing a baby (who is now 19!). It’s also sometimes called Nanny’s Thumb, from picking babies up with all the weight on your thumbs. I got great relief from two rounds of steroids, a spica brace first 24/7 and then just at night. I hope you won’t need surgery, but if you do, good luck, and update all us fans of yours!

  • Connie

    I have had 4 trigger fingers “fixed” at different times and they all feel great. I had a hand surgeon do the procedure at different times over the course of about 10 years. The cortisone never really worked for me. The procedure is about 10 minutes and the recovery is a snap. Connie

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