How I Learned to Love My Thumb

About two weeks ago, while I was playing basketball, I went for a steal and ended up jamming my thumb. For the rest of the game, I couldn’t shoot. I iced it that night, went to sleep. In the morning, the whole area around my thumb palm was blue with bruises and it was very sore. And that’s when I noticed that as I tried to type, my thumb hurt a whole lot. The timing couldn’t have been worse as I’d promised several reviews and articles to various magazines. My wife provided me a thumb brace, but that made typing clumsier as I consistently kept on banging my brace on the board. It seems like a small thing, especially as the only button I use with my thumb is really the space bar, but it really threw me off my rhythm as I wrote. Obviously, as time passed, the thumb healed and now it feels a whole lot better. But I realized how precious my thumb was when it came to writing (and obviously, every finger is precious). I’ve been looking up finger exercises to try to avoid jamming and been using sports tape while I play hoops now. Somehow, I managed to clack out the articles I needed to. It just took three times as long, ha ha. Fellow writers, protect your fingers! =)

Also, to quote wikipedia:

“A primitive autonomization of the first carpometacarpal joint (CMC) may have occurred in dinosaurs. A real differentiation appeared perhaps 70 mya in early primates, while the shape of the human thumb CMC finally appears about 5 mya. The result of this evolutionary process is a human CMC joint positioned at 80° of pronation, 40 of abduction, and 50° of flexion in relation to an axis passing through the second and third CMC joints.[20]

Opposable thumbs are shared by many primates, including most simians, and some prosimians. The climbing and suspensory behaviour in orthograde apes, such as chimpanzees, has resulted in elongated hands while the thumb has remained short. As a result, these primates are unable to perform the pad-to-pad grip associated with opposability. However, in pronograde monkeys such as baboons, an adaptation to a terrestrial lifestyle has led to reduced digit length and thus hand proportions similar to those of humans. Consequently, these primates have dexterous hands and are able to grasp objects using a pad-to-pad grip. It can thus be difficult to identify hand adaptations to manipulation-related tasks based solely on thumb proportions.”


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