Tricia Hardcastle | Thumb Arthritis | Trapeziectomy

Tricia Hardcastle | Thumb Arthritis, Trapeziectomy

Orthopaedics

As a keen crafter, Tricia was reliant upon her hands to create homemade cards, but arthritis began to affect the function of her thumbs. 

Tricia, 75, explains: “I experienced pain in the base of my thumb that radiated towards my index finger. I was finding crafting incredibly difficult to do, even after half an hour, and I had to be really careful not to drop anything I picked up.  

“I am right-handed as well, which made things a lot harder. I was constantly trying to find ways around it without aggravating my thumb.” 

Tricia was first administered steroid injections by her local GP surgery before being referred to Mr Oliver Harley, Consultant Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeon. She visited The Horder Centre every six months to continue the steroid injections.  

thumb-pain

Tricia, 75, explains: “I experienced pain in the base of my thumb that radiated towards my index finger. I was finding crafting incredibly difficult to do, even after half an hour, and I had to be really careful not to drop anything I picked up.  

“I am right-handed as well, which made things a lot harder. I was constantly trying to find ways around it without aggravating my thumb.” 

Tricia was first administered steroid injections by her local GP surgery before being referred to Mr Oliver Harley, Consultant Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeon. She visited The Horder Centre every six months to continue the steroid injections.  

“The injections helped me for the first three to four months,” said Tricia. “Then the pain would slowly creep back in, so Mr Harley advised a trapeziectomy. 

The operation took place in August 2023 at The McIndoe Centre. Tricia received a regional anaesthetic via an injection under the armpit, enabling Mr Harley to operate while she was still awake. 

“The injections helped me for the first three to four months,” said Tricia. “Then the pain would slowly creep back in, so Mr Harley advised a trapeziectomy. 

The operation took place in August 2023 at The McIndoe Centre. Tricia received a regional anaesthetic via an injection under the armpit, enabling Mr Harley to operate while she was still awake. 

Following the procedure, Tricia had a plaster cast and sling for the first two weeks of recovery to protect the thumb. A splint was then fitted for the next six weeks, which could be removed for hand washing and light activities.  

Towards the end of the six-week recovery period, Tricia attended physiotherapy at The Horder Centre every fortnight for several sessions.  

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Tricia adds: “It was well worth having the operation. It wasn’t particularly pleasant at the time, but I never found it excruciating.  

“The whole procedure from start to finish was first class and the care I received was absolutely fantastic. Both The McIndoe Centre and The Horder Centre have a very calm environment. I was an NHS patient but I was so well looked after that I felt like I was a private patient. 

“During the physiotherapy appointments, you have to massage the scar to reduce scar tissue. I’m more or less back to normal and you can hardly see the scar.  

“You have to have a positive attitude and have confidence in your surgeon. You don’t have to be frightened; they know what they are doing and are very skilled at what they do.”   

“Tricia had arthritis in the thumb. It’s a common problem and in many cases the pain is difficult to control without surgery.  The operation removes a small bone called ‘trapezium’ which connects the thumb to the wrist. This works very effectively to alleviate pain and restore strength and function to the thumb.  It was a pleasure to help Tricia recover function in her thumb and return to her favourite hobbies and activities in comfort.”

Oliver Harley, Consultant Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeon

Mr Oliver Harley

Mr Oliver Harley

Oliver Harley is a fully qualified, GMC registered specialist Plastic Surgeon. He is also a member of The British Association of Plastic Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeons (BAPRAS), and The British Society for Surgery of the Hand (BSSH). Mr Harley specialises both in cosmetic surgery and hand surgery.

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