De Quervain’s Tendinosis: What Is It And Is It The Source Of Your Thumb Pain?

If you experience pain in your thumb that becomes worse when you flex or turn your wrist, you might have a problem called De Quervain's tendinosis. De Quervain's tendinosis develops when something harms or damages the tendons that connect your thumb to your wrist. Simple movements, such as typing and grasping a dinner fork, can cause tremendous pain in the affected tissues. Here's more information about your condition and what you can do to treat it.

What's De Quervain's Tendinosis?

De Quervain's tendinosis, also known as De Quervain's tenosynovitis and syndrome, describes a painful condition that affects the soft tissues of the wrist and thumb. Although doctors aren't exactly clear as to how and why the condition develops, some sources link De Quervain's tendinosis to the repetitive use and misuse of your wrists and hands. For instance, people who play golf or do a lot of gardening may develop tendinosis over time. The condition can also affect middle-aged women and pregnant women, as well as people who suffer from joint conditions like rheumatoid arthritis.

The pain produced by De Quervain's tendinosis can involve several tissues, including the forearm. This usually occurs when you attempt to pick up or grasp something using your thumb. You may develop swelling in your wrist and thumb as the condition becomes worse. Some individuals develop a fluid-filled cysts near or around their wrist that presses against the nerves in these locations. 

If you fall into any of the above categories, it's important that you seek medical care and treatment right away.

How Do You Overcome Your Thumb Pain?

One of the things you can do is have your hand and wrist examine by an orthopedic doctor. An orthopedic, or hand, doctor will most likely use X-rays and other types of scans to diagnose your condition. A specialist might also diagnose your condition with the Finkelstein test.

The Finkelstein test requires you to place your hand in the air with the thumb tucked beneath your other fingers and against the palm of your hand. You slowly bend your wrist so that the knuckles of your fingers point toward the floor. A doctor will also perform other steps during the test to determine your condition. If you feel pain in your wrists and thumb during any parts of the test, you most likely have De Quervain's tendinosis. 

Treatment for your condition may include resting your wrist and hand, as well as taking medications to control the pain. You may also need to undergo physical therapy and wear a hand, wrist or arm splint to improve your situation. But if none of the treatments work effectively, a hand doctor may suggest that you have surgery. Surgery removes pressure from the nerves and tendons traveling through your wrist and hand so that you have better control over your thumb when you use it.

For more information about your painful thumb, contact an orthopedic doctor (like those at Town Center Orthopaedic Associates).