I Think I Have deQuervain’s. What Should I Do About It?
If you think you have deQuervain’s tenosynovitis, we recommend reading the blog titled “My thumb hurts - What’s wrong?” before reading this blog. The section on deQuervain’s may help to confirm your suspicion or direct you to consider if you might have another condition. It is important that you have an understanding of what may be wrong before even thinking about what to do about it. If you have read My thumb hurts - What’s wrong – keep reading.
There are several problems that can cause thumb pain. Each condition is different and before any treatment is started it is important to ensure that you have the proper diagnosis, which is best done by a physician or therapist who specializes in treating hand conditions. The information in this blog is meant to be discussed with your doctor or therapist so they can guide you in choosing the most appropriate and safe treatment option.
deQuervain’s Tenosynovitis Treatment - the most important treatments for any tenosynovitis (inflammation of the tissues that cover the tendons) or tendinitis (inflammation of the tendon itself) are rest and anti-inflammatory interventions.
Anti-inflammatory intervention includes icing the affected area for 10-15 minutes several times a day and anti-inflammatory medications including aspirin, ibuprofen or naproxen. If over-the-counter medications do not relieve the pain, a steroid injection may be needed for a more targeted, internal anti-inflammatory effect.
Because the involved tendons cross the wrist, a thumb spica splint that holds the wrist and positions the thumb out to the side is recommended. Thumb splints can be firm, using metal stays or molded plastic, or flexible using straps to hold the thumb and limit motion.
Choose firm splints for severe, constant pain and more flexible splints if the pain is only occasional and occurs only with extreme motion or certain tasks.
Consider the activities that cause pain and either avoid these activities until the pain subsides or try doing the task differently to put less stress on the thumb.
Severe or long lasting deQuervain’s may require surgery to release the sheath covering the tendons to allow them to move. This is usually a very successful surgery and a good choice when conservative treatments are not effective.
If you found this information helpful, click one of the “like” buttons to share this information with others or sign up for free notification of future blog updates.