Work related injury to the thumb has become a recognised problem for physiotherapists who perform manual techniques in the treatment of patients with orthopaedic musculoskeletal disorders. Pain in the thumb often causes physiotherapists to alter their methods of treatment, which may decrease the effectiveness of physiotherapy services and lead to increased financial costs for patients and their funding agencies. Substantial numbers of physiotherapists have changed their specialty area or left the profession because of work-related injury, which further burdens education and healthcare systems. The extent of the influence of individual risk factors and preventive strategies on the development of thumb pain in physiotherapists has not been conclusively determined. This paper discusses the potential causes and consequences of thumb pain in physiotherapists, and reviews the supporting evidence on the incidence, risk, prevention, and treatment of this common occupational injury in physiotherapists.
The Journal of Manual & Manipulative Therapy Vol. 10, Issue 4, p. 206-217