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Who is at Risk for De Quervain's Syndrome?

The Factors that Increase Your Risk for Developing De Quervain's Syndrome


De Quervain's syndrome can afflict anyone, but certain occupations, activities and traits do put you at higher risk for De Quervain's syndrome. If you are at risk for developing De Quervain's syndrome you should take special care to prevent De Quervain's syndrome and reduce the repetitive stress that can cause it.

If you perform an activity repetitively you are most likely placing a repetitive stress on some part of your body. Repetitive stress in your hands and wrist may lead to De Quervain's syndrome. If you use your thumb a lot, especially while gripping with your hand, you are at risk of developing De Quervain's syndrome. Of particular concern is when you use your thumb in an extended position and apply some measure of force with it. The more force you use with your thumb extended, the harder you grasp with your hand, and any additional twisting of the wrist increase your risk of causing the repetitive stress that results in De Quervain's syndrome.

Occupational Risks for De Quervain's Syndrome

Some occupations have a high rate of practitioner's becoming afflicted with De Quervain's syndrome. In some occupations it is so prevalent that the condition has been named after the occupation.

Know More: Aliases for De Quervain's Syndrome

Occupations that increase your risk for developing De Quervain's syndrome include:

  • Dry Cleaning/Laundry - also known as Washerwoman's Sprain, De Quervain's syndrome is prevalent here due to the wringing motion used when washing clothes by hand. Modern technology has reduced the need for this activity when doing laundry a lot, but it is still required in some situations
  • Child Care Provider/Nanny - known as Mother's Wrist or Mommy's Thumb, De Quervain's syndrome is common for those who care for infants. The positions used to hold and rock a baby and moving them in and out of a crib place a lot of repetitive stress on the thumb and wrist.

Activities with Risk for De Quervain's Syndrome

Activities with repetitive motions that stress the thumb and wrist and increase the risk for developing De Quervain's syndrome include:

  • Video Gaming - known as Gamer's Thumb or Nintendo Thumb, De Quervain's syndrome afflicts many video gamers. Hand held controllers often are grasped in the palm and have thumb controllers that require quite a bit of movement and flexation which stresses the thumb tendons.
  • Guitar Playing - Playing the guitar or other stringed instruments where you grasp the neck with your thumb extended can cause De Quervain's syndrome
  • Racquet Sports - Grasping a racquet with your thumb extended places stress similar to guitar playing on your tendons.
  • Golf - A good golf grip has both thumbs extended while grasping the club with your palm and fingers. That's a recipe for De Quervain's syndrome.
  • Knitting - Knitters, as well as practitioners of other crafts like Crocheting and Quilting, are constantly gripping and using their thumbs for leverage that can cause De Quervain's syndrome.

Traits with Risk for De Quervain's Syndrome

Some demographics show a statistically greater rate of De Quervain's syndrome than others. Certain elements of these demographics have been theorized to place you at higher risk for De Quervain's syndrome. Traits that increase your risk for De Quervain's syndrome include:

  • Female - women are afflicted with De Quervain's syndrome ten times more often than women. One theory is that the angles in the wrist that the tendons travel through are greater in women and therefore easier to stress and irritate.
  • Pregnant - pregnant women have a higher instance of De Quervain's syndrome. Then again, pregnant women suffer from all kinds of repetitive stress injuries. This is probably due to all the realignment and stress that occurs in a pregnant body coupled with the hormones that make tendons and ligaments more flexible in women to accommodate a birth. De Quervain's syndrome usually resolves itself in these cases soon after the birth.
  • New Mothers - while De Quervain's syndrome from pregnancy usually resolves itself, new mothers are at high risk for the same reasons that Nanny's and Child care providers are; holding and rocking a baby stresses your wrist.
  • Age - people between 30 and 50 are more apt to develop De Quervain's syndrome

As with most repetitive stress injuries, those who have suffered from De Quervain's syndrome previously are at risk of developing it again. You can reduce your risk by completing all courses of treatment and continue with the strengthening and stretching exercises you have been prescriber. Additionally you should treat your De Quervain's syndrome symptoms immediately to keep the condition in check.

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