If you experience swelling and inflammation of the tendons, you are aware of the intense pain associated with this condition. Seeking treatment for De Quervain’s Tendonitis is an excellent way to alleviate this discomfort. Idaho Shoulder and Hand provides both surgical and non-surgical options for treating tendonitis.
What is De Quervain’s Tendonitis?
De Quervain’s Tendonitis is a condition that specifically targets the tendons responsible for thumb movement. It leads to inflammation, resulting in pain and discomfort. The affected tendons swell, causing friction between the tendons and their protective sheath. Over time, the sheath thickens and restricts movement.
The condition is named after Fritz de Quervain, a Swiss surgeon who first identified it. Some common alternative names for De Quervain’s Tendonitis include “mommy’s thumb,” “gamer’s thumb,” and “blackberry thumb.”
Symptoms of De Quervain’s Tendonitis
De Quervain’s Tendonitis presents several symptoms. These include swelling on the side of the wrist where the thumb is located, which can sometimes be accompanied by a fluid-filled cyst. The pain and swelling cause stiffness in the thumb and wrist, leading to discomfort. Patients may experience pain and tenderness along the wrist (specifically on the thumb side), which can extend up the forearm. When moving the thumb, individuals may feel a clicking or locking sensation. Moreover, the wrist may feel weak or uncomfortable when carrying objects.
Diagnosing De Quervain’s Tendonitis
The Finkelstein test is the most commonly used method for diagnosing De Quervain’s Tendonitis. During this test, the patient forms a fist with the thumb tucked inside the palm. Then, the wrist is gradually bent towards the outside. If this movement elicits pain, it is often an indication of De Quervain’s tendonitis.
In addition to the Finkelstein test, there are other diagnostic methods that can be used to confirm De Quervain’s Tendonitis. These may include a thorough physical examination of the affected area, where the healthcare provider evaluates the presence of swelling, tenderness, or a fluid-filled cyst. Medical imaging techniques like X-rays or ultrasound may also be employed to assess the condition of the tendons and rule out other potential causes of the symptoms.
It is crucial for individuals experiencing wrist or thumb pain, especially if it hampers daily activities, to seek professional medical advice and get an accurate diagnosis. Early detection and appropriate treatment can lead to faster recovery and improved quality of life.
Causes of De Quervain’s Tendonitis
De Quervain’s Tendonitis commonly arises from overuse and repetitive strain, which occur when the tendons in the thumb and wrist are subjected to repetitive movements or excessive stress. Activities such as repetitive gripping, lifting heavy objects, or frequent thumb motion, especially with poor ergonomics, can lead to the development of this condition.
In addition to overuse, certain underlying conditions can predispose individuals to De Quervain’s Tendonitis. Rheumatoid Arthritis, an autoimmune disorder that causes inflammation in the joints, can affect the tendons and contribute to the onset of tendonitis. The inflammation associated with Rheumatoid Arthritis can directly impact the tendons in the wrist and thumb area.
Pregnancy is another significant factor that can trigger De Quervain’s Tendonitis in women. Hormonal changes during pregnancy, such as increased levels of relaxin hormone, which relaxes the ligaments, can lead to instability and inflammation of the tendons. Combined with the physical demands of carrying and caring for a baby, this hormonal shift can increase the risk of developing tendonitis in the thumb and wrist.
Other contributing factors include fluid retention, which can occur during pregnancy or due to certain medical conditions, and repetitive lifting, especially with poor technique or excessive force. These factors place additional strain on the tendons, potentially leading to inflammation and the development of De Quervain’s Tendonitis.
Understanding the potential causes and triggers of De Quervain’s Tendonitis can help individuals make informed decisions about prevention, self-care, and seeking appropriate medical treatment.
Non surgical treatment for De Quervain’s Tendonitis
Idaho Shoulder to Hand prioritizes non-surgical treatments for De Quervain’s Tendonitis whenever feasible, reserving surgery as a last resort. Many patients achieve positive outcomes through noninvasive methods. Some of these treatment approaches include wearing splints to provide support for both the thumb and wrist, using anti-inflammatory medications (taken orally or administered via injection) to alleviate pain and reduce inflammation, receiving corticosteroid injections to diminish pain and swelling in the tendon sheath, and allowing ample rest for the affected area. Avoiding activities that trigger pain can help minimize both pain and swelling, often leading to the resolution of symptoms.
Surgical treatment for De Quervain’s Tendonitis
Idaho Shoulder to Hand also provides orthopedic surgical treatment options for patients who do not experience satisfactory results from non-surgical treatments. Surgical intervention is considered when conservative measures have proven ineffective. The surgical procedure for De Quervain’s Tendonitis involves opening the tendon sheath, creating additional space and relieving pressure on the affected tendons. This approach aims to alleviate symptoms and promote improved thumb and wrist function.
Post Surgical Recovery
Recovery from De Quervain’s Tendonitis surgery is typically swift and uncomplicated. The procedure itself is minimally invasive, and patients often experience improvements in thumb and hand functionality within a few days. In most cases, individuals can resume work activities within a week.
If you are experiencing wrist or thumb pain and suspect that you may have De Quervain’s Tendonitis, the dedicated team at Idaho Shoulder to Hand is available to assist you. Our highly trained professionals can diagnose and treat this condition using a range of approaches, starting from the least invasive options and progressing to surgical interventions if necessary.