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Thumb Tremors in Seniors : Causes and Solutions


While it may be worrying at first sight, thumb tremor in seniors is actually not always a sign of a problem or pathology. In fact, there are many different types of tremors, all linked to different causes. Stressful situations, for example, can trigger an involuntary movement of the thumb for some people. In which cases, such tremor is generally considered normal. For others, however, thumb shaking (thumb twitching) may be a symptom of some health problems, or even a reaction to medications.

Here is an overview of the main causes of thumb tremors in seniors. In order to help you understand the solutions available if you, or an elderly relative, notices a finger trembling on its own.

Thumb Tremor : What Is It Exactly ?

Defined as an unintentional movement, tremors may affect various regions of the body. Thumb and hand, however, are among the most common.

  • Physiologic tremor : When the causes are considered normal, tremor is referred to as physiologic.
  • Pathologic tremor : If the oscillations are related to some medical problem, the tremor is then described as pathologic.

Depending on when the movement occurs, tremors can also be classified in another manner :

  • Action tremor : If the thumb is shaking during, or just after, a specific motion.
  • Resting tremor : Whenever the uncontrolled movements happen at rest.

Shaking of the thumb in the elderly is an important issue to consider because of its potential impact on the autonomy and ability to perform everyday tasks.

Main Causes of Thumb Tremor

Thumb tremors may appear in many different ways, and affect people of all ages. However, they are more frequently encountered among seniors.

The most common causes include :

  • Stress, fatigue or intense emotion ;
  • Hereditary factors (in the case of essential tremor) ;
  • Parkinson’s disease ;
  • Other neurodegenerative diseases (ALS, multiple sclerosis, etc.) ;
  • Hyperthyroidism ;
  • Use of some medications ;
  • Vitamin B12 deficiency ;
  • Episodes of hypoglycemia ;
  • and many others, depending on each individual’s condition.

Best Solutions For a Trembling Thumb

Since the causes are so diverse, we understand that the onset of hand tremor can be worrying for some people. Especially if the appearance is sudden, or is associated with other symptoms such as muscular weakness or cognitive changes.

If you, or an elderly relative, experiencing thumb tremor for no apparent reason, solutions exist fortunately to help you manage this situation !

1. Get the right diagnosis

Consulting a physician, or another healthcare professional who can perform an appropriate evaluation of your condition, is essential in order to obtain an accurate diagnosis. In addition to a detailed history of your problem, your doctor will undertake a complete clinical examination, including a neurological assessment.

2. Follow recommended treatment

With this diagnosis, the best treatment for your situation can more easily be recommended. General health advice, specific exercises, or the prescription of certain medications, it is obviously important to follow the recommendations issued by your doctor regarding the treatment of your trembling thumb.

3. Choose healthy lifestyle habits

As for many other health conditions, adopting good lifestyle habits is a key point, helping to reduce predisposing factors such as stress and fatigue.

Here are a few concrete examples of healthy habits to adopt on a daily basis:
● Adequate sleeping time ;
● Regular moderate physical activity ;
● Relaxation activities such as yoga or meditation ;
● Prevent overuse of repetitive thumb movements ;
● Consult a movement professional such as a kinesiologist or an occupational therapist.

4. Taking advantage of available assistance and home care services

For seniors suffering from thumb tremor, the progression of symptoms may sometimes lead to limitations in activities, reducing their day-to-day autonomy.

Home care services can be of great benefit at this time. Thanks to the various assistance services offered, seniors living at home can receive personalized support.

According to their needs, all seniors can benefit from :

  • Support with mobility and outings ;
  • Help with meal preparation ;
  • Hygiene and comfort care ;
  • Assistance with daily tasks ;
  • and much more.

** Visavie Professional Caregivers also offer specialized home care services for seniors living with Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s or cognitive disorders. Our services are always based on the utmost benevolence and respect for seniors and their families. **

Ultimately, thumb tremor in seniors is a reality that deserves our attention. Because it may sometimes be only physiologic, without any associated pathological cause, there is no need to be alarmed too quickly. However, it is highly recommended to consult your physician for a good diagnosis if these trumb tremors appear suddenly, or if they are associated with other symptoms.

Do you, or an elderly loved one, have a shaking thumb ? Are you worried about these symptoms ? Do not hesitate to contact our team at Visavie, who will be pleased to help and guide you to the right resources.

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