de Quervain's Syndrome

De Quervain’s is a painful tendonitis on the thumb side of your wrist. This inflammation causes the lining (sheath) around the tendon to thicken and become rough, making it difficult for the tendons to glide through the sheath as they move your thumb.

CAUSES

  • Repetitive thumb or wrist use. Can happen with chronic overuse or after a single incidence of heavy use.
  • Traumatic injury(blow) to the side of your wrist near your thumb.
  • Inflammatory conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis.
  • Hormonal changes, such as with a pregnancy.

RISK FACTORS

  • If you are between the ages of 30-50, you are more likely to develop this condition.
  • Women are much more likely to have difficulty with de Quervain’s.
  • Pregnancy is associated with temporarily developing thumb tendonitis due to fluid retention or hormonal changes.
  • Those involved in baby care tend to overuse their thumbs as leverage while lifting an infant. This is common with new parents.
  • Jobs or hobbies that require repetitive thumb and wrist movements are associated with thumb tendonitis.

SYMPTOMS

  • May have swelling near the base of your thumb.
  • May be tender to touch over the back of the thumb.
  • Pain at the thumb side of the wrist with grip and pinch.
  • Difficulty with wrist motions while pinching.
  • Especially painful with wrist movements toward thumb and/or toward small finger.
  • “Sticking” or “stop-and-go” sensation with thumb movements caused by friction as the tendons glide through their sheaths.
  • If left untreated, the pain may radiate up your thumb and down into your forearm.
  • Occasionally, there is numbness to the back of your thumb, as the nerve there gets irritated by the inflammation.

HOW AN ARMWORKS HAND THERAPIST CAN HELP YOU

  • Your OT/PT hand therapist can fabricate a custom thumb/wrist splint.
  • Therapists are able to recommend adaptations to daily tasks to alleviate thumb pain.
  • Provide pain-relieving modalities, such as ultrasound and laser therapy.
  • Myofascial massage to loosen tight tissues and improve pain-free movement and use of your hand.
  • A CHT, Certified Hand Therapist, is specially trained to develop a specific hand exercise program, tailored to your needs. Chronic de Quervain’s Tenosynovitis generally takes longer to resolve and requires different treatment.

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, give Armworks a call to schedule an evaluation. We have clinics in Beaverton, Clackamas, Gresham and NE Portland to conveniently serve your injury needs.