The effects of dry needling on the thumb: A case report


Aurora BayCare Medical Center, Advocate Aurora Health Research Institute


Introduction: Dry needling has been identified as a potential intervention for a variety of diagnoses. Limited evidence exists to support the use of dry needling following surgical intervention of a distal radius fracture. This case report demonstrates the impact of dry needling in the thumb following a distal radius fracture.

Methods: The patient was a 31-year-old healthy female who sustained a distal radius fracture and required surgical intervention. The patient required a volar plate removal and extensor tenolysis. The patient attended traditional occupational therapy with one session of dry needling to assist in improving range of motion and decreasing pain.

Results: The patient benefited from the use of dry needling. The patient had no pain with functional grasping and pinching following dry needling and improved on the Kapandji score from eight to nine out of ten. The patient also reported a decrease in overall pain, from seven to two on the Numeric Pain Rating Scale.

Discussion: The patient benefited from dry needling in the thumb to improve both range of motion and pain symptoms. While the evidence is limited, dry needling may be an appropriate intervention to assist in recovery and reduce thumb pain following distal radius fractures.

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