If you’re experiencing pain or tenderness at the base of your thumb and/or wrist you may have de Quervain’s tenosynovitis, also known as “gamers thumb”. The exact cause is unknown; however, repetitive hand or wrist movement can worsen the condition.
You may find it difficult to move your thumb or wrist while grasping or pinching and stiffness when you move it. Women ages 30 to 50 are at higher risk of developing de Quervain’s tenosynovitis. Pregnant women and baby caregivers or people with a hobby that requires repetitive hand and wrist motions may experience this condition.
Your hand specialist will check your hand and apply pressure in areas to see where the pain is located. The Finkelstein test, which requires you to bend your thumb to touch your palm and make a fist, will stretch your tendons. This is a commonly used test a hand specialist may do to help diagnose de Quervain’s syndrome. If the thumb side of your wrist experiences pain during this test, you will likely be diagnosed with de Quervain’s syndrome.
If limiting use, applying cold or warm compresses and anti-inflammatory medications have not provided relief, further treatment from a hand doctor may be needed. If left untreated, the pain may spread up the arm and it may limit your thumb and wrist range of motion.
If diagnosed early enough after symptoms begin, steroid injections may be used to help resolve the problem and you may not need any further treatment. If the injections do not resolve your de Quervain’s disease, further treatment like a splint and physical therapy may be recommended. If your condition continues to persist, outpatient surgery to release the tendon sheath may be required, followed by hand therapy including thumb and wrist strengthening exercises.
The Midwest Hand Surgery team is ready to help you with injuries to the hand, wrist and fingers. Give us a call or click here to make an appointment.
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