We use our hands to work and communicate on a daily basis. Over time, wear and tear can develop from all that use and occasionally cause a painful condition known as, De Quervain’s tenosynovitis. This condition affects the two tendons that run between your wrist and thumb, leading to inflammation which puts pressure on nearby nerves, resulting in pain and tenderness. Causes and Risk Factors: While the exact cause of De Quervain’s tenosynovitis is still unknown, any repetitive activities of the hand or wrist can aggravate the symptoms. Some common risk factors include:

  • Being female
  • Being age 40 or older
  • Having rheumatoid arthritis 
  • Hormonal changes during pregnancy 
  • Work or hobbies that involve repetitive hand or wrist motions

Symptoms: Typically, the main symptom of this condition includes pain or numbness at the base of your thumb that can develop slowly or all at once. The pain may also be felt up your forearm and can feel worse when you use your thumb, hand or wrist. Other symptoms of De Quervain’s tenosynovitis can include: 

  • Pain or swelling near the base of your thumb
  • A tingly sensation along the back of your thumb and index finger 
  • Difficulty moving your thumb or wrist when making grasping motions
  • Feeling your thumb “catch” or “snap” when you try to move it

Treatment: The goal in treating this condition is to reduce pain and swelling. Take a look at some of the effective treatment methods below: 

  • Wearing a splint to rest your hand and wrist
  • Avoiding repetitive activities that trigger symptoms 
  • Frequently applying ice to the affected area
  • Taking an anti-inflammatory medication such as ibuprofen 
  • Getting an injection of corticosteroids into the tendon sheath

Fortunately, the prognosis for De Quervain’s tenosynovitis is good. After treatment, patients can regain full function once the inflammation subsides. If you have to engage in future activities that involve repetitive hand or wrist motions, bracing may be recommended by your physical therapist to prevent recurring symptoms. 

At Medical Rehabilitation Centers of Pennsylvania (MRCP), the goal of our physicians and physical therapists is to provide quality care and complete pain relief through proper diagnostics and treatment services. We use the latest techniques to manage each patient according to their needs, in addition to changing the way you move, to prevent further injury. 

For comprehensive diagnostics and tailor-made physical therapy treatments in and around Philadelphia and the Greater Philadelphia Area, contact MRCP. Visit us at one of our convenient locations or contact us online.