What is Dequervain’s?
DeQuervain’s is pain on the thumb side of the wrist approximately where a watch would sit. This pain is associated with movement of the wrist or thumb. You may notice pain when you reach out to grab something with an open thumb or lift the thumb up and down repeatedly. This pain may get worse if the object your picking up is heavy.
What causes DeQuervain’s?
DeQuervain’s is a very common condition in new parents as they are holding and lifting a new baby with the thumbs up, combined with an up-and-down movement at the wrist and holding their baby on their hip for sustained periods. This can pain can also occur at work where you’re required to complete strong or repetitive thumb and wrist movements. This condition may also be caused by direct trauma such as falling on your wrist or thumb.
How do I know if I have DeQuervain’s?
You may have DeQuervains if you experience the following:
- Pain and swelling over the thumb side of the wrist.
- Pain may travel down or up into the forearm.
- You have trouble or it is painful to lift your thumb
- Bending your finger towards your little finger may cause pain
- You may experience sensations of clicking, flicking, catching or locking in your wrist.
It is important that you are diagnosed correctly as there are many other conditions with similar symptoms.
How can physiotherapy help with DeQuervain’s?
Your physiotherapist will be able to help you in the following ways is you are diagnosed with DeQuervains:
- Splinting – Your physiotherapist will be able to make you a splint to reduce movement in your thumb tendons, therefore, allowing it to heal. You may be required to wear a splint for up to 6 weeks.
- Education on activity modification – Your physiotherapist will be able to suggest a way to adjust your day to day activities to ensure pain is reduced.
- Exercises – Your physiotherapist will suggest exercises depending on your individual condition. Regular exercises have been proven to be a vital part of treatment and are important to help prevent a recurrence of the condition.
- Massage and other soft tissue techniques
What can I do at home?
It is important to ensure you understand and listen to what your physiotherapist has told you to ensure you have a full recovery. It is vital that you:
- Wear your splint as often as possible
- Avoid activities that cause pain
- Follow the instructions on position and movement to avoid
- Avoid pressing your thumb
- Complete exercises as much as required/suggested
How long will my recovery be?
It is possible that you will be able to do many more activities once a splint is fitted allowing pain to be reduced. Your recovery time will depend on the severity of your condition and how long you have had it for. Splints will be required for 2–6 weeks and then you will need to go through rehabilitation to regain full movement and strength of the tendons.
If you would like to find out more please call us or book an appointment here.
Reference: Australian Physiotherapy Association 2019, Your Body, viewed 19 November 2019, < https://australian.physio/>.