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De quervain's tenosynovitis-How to “hand”le your pain

Having pain on your wrist or base of thumb? Not sure what to do? Don’t worry, we are here to help you!

What happened to my hand?

De Quervain’s tenosynovitis, the inflammation of the sheath, or synovium, that surrounds the two tendons that run between the wrist and the thumb. Tendons are strong bands of tissue that attach muscles to bone. In the thumb, they are involved in moving the thumb.As the synovium swells and thickens, it becomes painful for a person to move their thumb.

You must be wondering why it is named De Quervain ?

In 1895, a Swiss surgeon, Fritz de Quervain, published five case reports of patients with a tender, thickened first dorsal compartment at the wrist. The condition has subsequently borne his name, de Quervain tenosynovitis. De Quervain tenosynovitis is an entrapment tendinitis of the tendons contained within the first dorsal compartment at the wrist; it causes pain during thumb motion.

Symptoms of de Quervain’s tenosynovitis

The main symptom of de Quervain’s tenosynovitis is pain or tenderness at the base of your thumb. You might also feel pain going up your forearm. The pain may develop slowly or come on suddenly. It may get worse when you use your hand, thumb, or wrist.

Other symptoms include:

  • Swelling near the base of your thumb.
  • Numbness along the back of your thumb and index finger.
  • A “catching” or “snapping” feeling when you move your thumb.
  • A squeaking sound as the tendons move within the swollen sheaths.
What causes the inflammation?

The most common cause of de Quervain’s tenosynovitis is chronic overuse of the wrist. Repetitive movements day after day cause irritation and pain. One common movement that causes it is lifting a child into a car seat. Another is lifting heavy grocery bags by the handles. The condition is more common in women than men and often happens after pregnancy. Other causes could include a direct injury to the wrist or inflammatory arthritis.

Activities linked to De Quervain’s include:

  • golf
  • playing the piano
  • typing
  • carpentry
Okay now is the important part, how to handle the pain?

The goal of treatment for de Quervain’s is to relieve the pain and swelling in your thumb and wrist, and restore normal function. Try the following steps to help your symptoms:

  • Avoid moving the hand and wrist that hurt.
  • Until your symptoms are better, stop the activities that caused the pain.
  • Keep your wrist in a straight line with your arm by using a splint to keep your thumb and wrist from moving.
  • Try ice or heat on the area that hurts or is swollen. You can use ice for 15 minutes every 4 to 6 hours. Put a thin cloth between the ice and your skin. You can use heat for 20 to 30 minutes, 2 or 3 times a day. Try using a heating pad, hot shower, or hot pack.
Should I try physiotherapy first?

The answer is YES

A physiotherapist can show you how to change the way you move. This can reduce stress on your wrist. He or she can also teach you exercises to strengthen your muscles.

Most people notice improvement after 4 to 6 weeks of treatment. They are able to use their hands and wrists without pain once the swelling is gone.

If non-surgical treatment options do not provide relief and your pain becomes too severe, in some cases the condition can be eased with operation. 

 

By reading all the information above, hope we can help you with your condition