1. Home

De Quervain’s Syndrome Essentials

Everything You Need to Know About De Quervain's Syndrome

By

The human thumb is known as the opposable thumb. As in it opposes the rest of the hand. Your anatomy excels at using the thumb to close against your palm and fingers and "grip" things. The thumb is much like the lower half of your jaw or a set of pliers. But it also has the ability to move better than you jaw. That really helps get the thumb in the right position for maximum grip strength and to allow you to grab things of various sizes and shapes.

What the thumb does not excel at is typing, texting, and performing lots of motion or gripping while flexing. Those can all lead to a great deal of repetitive stress and the development of De Quervain's syndrome.

1. What is De Quervain's Syndrome?

De Quervain's syndrome is a repetitive stress injury that affects the thumb. It can be a form of tendinitis or tenosynovitis or a combination of the two. It can also lead to permanent damage with a loss of grip strength or a reduction in your range of motion if left unchecked and untreated.

The repetitive stress is localized at the base of your thumb and is often an irritation in the tendons that control the thumb that slide through the opening in the wrist or an irritation in the slippery lining that covers the opening in the wrist. When these get irritated they swell up and constrict that opening making it difficulat and painful for the tendons to move through it...

2. Symptoms of De Quervain's Sydrome

The symptoms of De Quervain's syndrome are commonly pain on the thumb side of the wrist. They may also include a popping sound and a weakness in your grip strength. The particulars of your symptoms will help diagnose whether or not you truly do have De Quervain's syndrome.

The pain may be anywhere along the lowest section of the thumb to the wrist or right below the wrist on the forearm. In De Quervain's syndrome the pain is on the outside of the thumb or wrist. The popping is the result of a swollen tendon nodule squeezing through the opening in the wrist and "popping" out. When you flex your thumb the popping should occur in the same place every time..

3. Causes of De Quervain's Syndrome

There are many things that may cause De Quervain's syndrome. From Computer work to texting on your phone to playing video games to carrying your newborn child. Throughout history various professions have developed the disorder and some even have a name for it particular to their profession such as "Washerwoman's Sprain". But they are often all related to repetitive stress that leads to inflammation in some anatomical features in your wrist and thumb...

4. Diagnosing De Quervain's Syndrome

Since the cause of De Quervain's syndrome is often unknown or at least hard to pinpoint a concrete diagnosis of De Quervain's syndrome may be difficult. Complicating the matter is the number of repetitive stress injuries that can occur at or around the same area of the hand, wrist and forearm. However, De Quervain's syndrome has a specific set of symptoms that differ from other disorders.

To properly diagnose De Quervain's syndrome monitoring your symptoms will help and some simple tests may need to be performed first...

5. How Can You Test for De Quervain’s Syndrome?

There are some simple and routine tests for De Quervain's syndrome. They may be part of a differential diagnosis or specific to De Quervain's syndrome. Most can be performed by your doctor or physical therapist during diagnosis...

6. Treating De Quervain's Syndrome

De Quervain's syndrome can be treated rather easily with simple medicines, supports and therapies. Physical therapy can help a lot as well. Additionally, occupational therapy or some study of bio-mechanics (such as the Alexander Technique) may be required to ensure you change your habits so as to not relapse by performing the same bad repetitive motions that got you into this mess in the first place...

7. Treating De Quervain's Syndrome at Home

If your De Quervain's syndrome is mild or other options are not available there are a number of home remedies and over the counter supplies that can be used to great benefit to treat De Quervain's syndrome at home. Things as simple as applying ice to the afflicted area or using a compression bandage to provide support to the injured thumb can often prove a sufficient treatment for De Quervain's syndrome...

8. Relieving De Quervain's Syndrome

Sometimes during the course of treatment you just need some relief from the pain. Other times life is so overwhelming that you are unable to treat your De Quervain's syndrome properly and the best you can hope for is some relief from the immediate problem and enough help to the injured area that you do not suffer any permanent damage until you can go through a proper treatment regiment. When one of those is the case some simple methods can bring you relief...

9. Who is at Risk for De Quervain's Syndrome?

There are a number of things that can put you at risk for developing De Quervain's syndrome. Your age and sex can affect it. But the greatest factor is your occupation or types of activities that introduce the specific form of stress on your thumb and wrist that can cause this disorder. If you are at risk for developing De Quervain's syndrome then you should consider starting some prentive measures...

10. Preventing De Quervain's Syndrome

If you find yourself at risk for De Quervain's syndrome you should really consider taking up some preventative methods. You can either do this stuff now before you have a problem or later when you are battling the pain. Prevention should always be the first thing on your mind. Repetitive stress is not something to be taken lightly especially when it can ruin one of the most important parts of your body, your thumbs...

11. When to See a Doctor for DeQuervain’s Syndrome

De Quervain's syndrome is not something to take lightly. Yes it can be treated well at home but it can also cause permanent damage if it is left to go on too long. If it gets severe or chronic it may be time to see a doctor for your De Quervain's syndrome...

12. De Quervain’s Syndrome Aliases

De Quervain's syndrome goes by a lot of different names and some common alternate spellings. You may be reading this right now while suffering from De Quervain's syndrome without realizing it. Instead you may think you have Texting Thumb or Mother's Wrist or the like...

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.