For the last 10 years, I've worked as a medical transcriptionist. I've never had any problems until just now. My thumb has started to ache every time I lift it off the keyboard. I love my job and don't want anything to keep me from doing it. Why is this happening now all of a sudden?

No one knows for sure why tendonitis occurs at just a certain moment. We don't know why one person gets it while another doing the same job doesn't have any problems. It's likely that the repeated motions are part of the problem. But since not everyone gets into trouble, there must be other factors.

Researchers think some people have a slower blood supply and less lubrication to that area. The result is high friction. The tendon gets abraded and ruptures. In some people the shape of the bone under the tendon might have something to do with it. If the tendon moves back and forth over the same spot, it might rub and begin to fray.

Any of these problems can cause tendon surface damage over time. Inflammation starts. Enzymes destroy the natural lubricating fluid around the tendons. This increases friction and damage and sets up a vicious cycle of more inflammation, more friction, and less lubrication.

Be sure and take a look at your hand position as you work. Make sure your workstation is set up to give you optimal position and use of your hands and arms. Also, you may wish to look at these two web sites for more information:

  • http://www.orosha.org/cergos. Click on "Workstation setup" and "Good work habits."
  • http://www.HealthyComputing.com.

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