If you feel pain whenever your grip anything with your hand, turn your wrist, or make a fist, then you might have de Quervain’s (dih kwer-VAINS) tendonitis (also called tenosynovitis). This condition affects the tendons on the thumb side of the wrist and is often caused by repetitive hand or wrist movements such as gardening, playing racket sports, and playing golf.
If you suspect that you might have this condition of deQuervain’s tendonitis, then consult a hand doctor for an evaluation.
What Are the Symptoms of de Quervain’s Tendonitis?
This condition may appear suddenly or gradually. The most common symptoms include:
* Pain or swelling on the wrist, near the base of the thumb
* Pain along the back of your thumb
* Pain that travels into the thumb or up the forearm
* Pain or difficulty moving the thumb and wrist when you try to grasp or pinch things
* Pain upon pressing directly on the thumb region
* A “stop-and-go” or “sticking” sensation in the thumb when you try to move it
Without treatment, the pain could spread further into the thumb or even into the forearm.
When Should I See a Doctor?
If home treatment (rest, cold packs, and over-the-counter pain relievers) doesn’t improve your symptoms and function, or if the pain interferes significantly with your daily activities, then consult a hand specialist. In general, the sooner you visit a doctor to begin treatment, the faster your hand should heal.
How Is de Quervain’s Tendonitis Treated?
If treatment is started early, including wearing a splint 24 hours a day, then your symptoms should improve within four to six weeks. In these cases, treatment is usually very successful, although the symptoms could return if you don’t stop the repetitive motions that aggravate the tendons.
If the conservative treatments listed above do not work, then your hand doctor may recommend steroid injections to reduce pain and swelling. An occupational or physical therapist can show you some alternate ways of doing things to relieve stress on the wrist and teach you exercises to strengthen your wrist and reduce irritation.
If these methods don’t help, then you may need outpatient hand surgery to relieve pressure on the tendon. After surgery, an exercise program will help you regain strength in the thumb and wrist.
If you are experiencing pain in the wrist or hand, then consult a hand specialist today.