De Quervain’s tenosynovitis is a repetitive movement injury that occurs in the tendons on the thumb side of the wrist. The most common symptom of de Quervain’s tenosynovitis is pain or tenderness when grasping or lifting objects, turning the wrist, or making a fist. Some patients also report a “locking” or “sticking” of the thumb during movement.
During normal hand function, two major tendons in the wrist and lower thumb glide easily past each other in the synovial sheath. This mucous sheath protects the tendons and allows for a full range of motion. Repetitive motion may irritate the sheath around the two tendons. The irritation causes swelling of the sheath, restricting the movement of the tendons and causing painful inflammation.
Adults age 30-50 are the highest risk group for de Quervain’s tenosynovitis. Jobs or hobbies that involve repetitive movement of the thumb and wrist may contribute to the condition. In fact, de Quervain’s tenosynovitis is also known as Blackberry Thumb, Gamer’s Thumb, and Mommy Thumb, due to the number of people in each of those categories that experience the injury in the course of regular activity such as lifting an infant up and down or repetitive thumb movements on a video game controller.
Treatment options for de Quervain’s tenosynovitis include rest, immobilization (splint or brace), ice, anti-inflammation medication (such as ibuprofen or naproxen), cortisone injection, and regenerative therapies such as platelet-rich plasma injection. Physical or occupational therapy is often recommended as part of the treatment plan for de Quervain’s tenosynovitis, including strengthening exercises and routine adjustments to avoid the repetitive motions that trigger the condition.
In severe cases of de Quervain’s, your doctor may recommend outpatient surgery. Typically this is done only after other options have already been exhausted.
If you are experiencing pain when you turn your wrist, grasp objects, or make a fist, please contact us at 201.729.0001 to schedule an appointment. Our experienced pain specialists will be happy to help create a treatment plan for your de Quervain’s tenosynovitis pain relief. We offer weekday and weekend appointments. You can find us at our conveniently located clinics in West Orange, Aberdeen, and Lyndhurst.