What is De Quervains? De Quervains is a painful condition affecting the tendons located on the thumb side of your wrist. A tendon is a strong band of tissue that attaches muscle to bone. A sheath, or covering, surrounds the tendons that go to your thumb. Tenosynovitis is an irritation of this sheath.
How Does It Occur? De Quervains usually occurs from overusing your thumb or wrist, especially in activities that move your thumb directly away from your wrist such as skiing or hammering
What Are The Symptoms Of De Quervains? Symptoms may include: 1) pain when you move your thumb or wrist 2) pain when you make a fist 3) swelling and tenderness on the thumb side of your wrist 4) feeling or hearing creaking as the tendon slides through its sheath.
How Is It Diagnosed? Your health care provider will examine your wrist and thumb and find the areas that are tender and painful to move. An x-ray may be taken to be sure you don't have a broken bone.
De Quervains Treatment: The initial treatment for De Quervains is a splint that will cover your wrist and thumb. It is important that you protect your thumb and wrist from activities that worsen your pain. Treatment may also include:
- placing an ice pack on your thumb and wrist for 20 to 30 minutes every 3 or 4 hours until the pain goes away.
- doing ice massage for 5 to 10 minutes several times a day.
- taking an anti-inflammatory medication such as ibuprofen.
- having an injection of a medication like cortisone.
You will be given rehabilitation exercises to help speed your recovery and prevent the problem from returning.
When Can I Return To My Sport Or Activity? The goal of rehabilitation is to return you to your sport or activity as soon as is safely possible. If you return too soon you may worsen your injury, which could lead to permanent damage. Everyone recovers from injury at a different rate. Return to your activity will be determined by how soon your wrist recovers, not by how many days or weeks it has been since your injury occurred. In general, the longer you have symptoms before you start treatment, the longer it will take to get better. You may return to your sport or activity when it is no longer painful to move your thumb or wrist. You may need to do activities wearing a supportive splint until you no longer have symptoms.
How Can I Prevent De Quervains? Avoiding activities that overuse your thumb or wrist may prevent De Quervains. You may do all of these exercises when the initial pain is gone.
- Opposition stretch: Rest your injured hand on a table, palm up. Touch the tip of your thumb to the tip of your little finger. Hold this position for 6 seconds. Repeat 10 to 12 times.
- Wrist rock stretch: Hold your injured hand out in front of you in the handshake position. Make a fist with your injured hand, but tuck your thumb inside your palm. Move your wrist down, hold for 5 seconds, then move your wrist up and hold for 5 seconds. Repeat 10 to 12 times.
- Thumb extension: Hold a small weight (a soup can, for example) in your injured hand. Rest your forearm on a table with your wrist and hand hanging over the edge of the table. Starting with your hand in the handshake position (thumb up), move your wrist up and down. Repeat 10 to 20 times.
- Wrist extension: Start in the same position as for the thumb extension (holding a small weight, resting your forearm on the table), but this time turn your hand palm down. Bend your wrist up, hold for 2 to 3 seconds, then bend your wrist down and hold for 2 to 3 seconds. Repeat 10 to 20 times.
- Palm-down curl: Stand with your hands at your side, holding a small weight palm down in your injured hand. Keeping your palm down and bending your elbow, slowly curl the weight up toward your shoulder as far as possible. For each repetition, move your hand down to the starting position more slowly than you lift your hand up toward your shoulder. Repeat 10 to 20 times.
- Finger spring: Place a large rubber band around the outside of your thumb and the rest of your fingers. Open your fingers to stretch the rubber band. Repeat 10 to 20 times.
All material provided is designed for information purposes only and should not be used to replace the care of a health care professional. Do not rely on any of the information for diagnosis or treatment. It is recommended that you visit a qualified health care professional for individual and personal attention.