That Pain in your thumb may be DeQuervain's Tenosynovitis
Experiencing pain in your thumb and wrist after lifting a child out of their car seat? Feeling discomfort in your thumb and wrist that goes up your arm after a game of racquet ball, painting your bedroom, or digging in your garden? You may be experiencing symptoms from a condition called DeQuervain's Tenosynovitis.
You may feel the onset of pain along the thumb, wrist, and possibly the forearm gradually or suddenly. The pain is caused by inflammation and thickening of the extensor pollicis brevis and abductor pollicis longus tendons as they pass along the bony prominence of the wrist (radial styloid) and the under the thick ligament on the back of the wrist (dorsal retinaculum). Inflammation of those tendons can be caused by a variety of reasons including, but not limited to: changes in the joint which can occur in conditions such as arthritis, or overuse, repetitive tasks, diabetes, and/or pregnancy.
While anyone can develop DeQuervain's syndrome, women are more likely to develop symptoms than men. The name DeQuervain's came from the surgeon, Dr. Fritz de Quervain, who identified this syndrome in 1895. Pain at the base of the thumb while simultaneously flexing your thumb toward your palm and moving your wrist away from your thumb is an indicator that you could be suffering from this condition. This movement is called a Finkelstein test and is one of the assessments your provider may use to determine a diagnosis.
If you are diagnosed with DeQuervain's tenosynovitis your doctor may refer you to therapy. How can therapy help with these symptoms? Therapy can offer the following services:
- Education to avoid further aggravation to the wrist by learning how to improve work ergonomics, posture, proper lifting techniques.
- Appropriate stretches to decrease pain and diminish the reoccurrence of injury.
- Splinting for pain management (as needed) to place the muscles at relative rest.
- Pain management with use of modalities