If your thumb hurts every time you turn your wrist, grasp something or make a fist- you are probably looking for answers on what is causing your thumb pain? After doing some initial research, you may be saying to yourself – “I think I have de Quervain’s” and are searching for ways to relieve your pain. Read on for a better understanding of de quervain’s and to learn about the symptoms, treatment options and how thumb braces can help with your thumb and wrist pain.
What is de Quervain’s and What Causes it?
(D-quare-vanes T-no-sigh-no-vie-tis) is inflammation of the tendons at the base of your thumb, on the side of your wrist. Although the exact cause of de Quervain’s tenosynovitis is unknown, the most common cause is from constant overuse when lifting or performing side to side motions with your hand and wrist. Any activity that relies on repetitive hand or wrist movements — such as lifting a child into a car seat, playing the piano, working in the garden, or playing golf or tennis, can make it worse. Arthritis and direct injury can also cause de Quervain’s.
You are more likely to develop it if:
- you’re a women over 40 years of age or you are pregnant (hormonal changes can cause it)
- you have injured your wrist
- your job or activities involve repetitive hand and wrist movements
- you have inflammatory arthritis
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Symptoms of de Quervain’s
- Pain and swelling along the thumb side of the wrist is the most common symptom
- Shooting pain down to the end of the thumb or up along the thumb side of the forearm
- Pain when making a fist and extending the thumb upwards in a “hitchhiker” motion
- Reduced grip strength
Treatment Options for de Quervain’s
The most common treatments are to first use anti-inflammatories and rest. Anti-inflammatory treatments include icing your thumb for 10-15 minutes, several times a day and taking anti-inflammatory medications such as aspirin, ibuprofen or naproxen. If over-the-counter medications don’t help relieve your pain, a steroid injection may be needed.
Resting your thumb in an extended position, with the wrist in a neutral position can also help to reduce inflammation and limit the motions that can cause your thumb pain. Depending on the severity of your condition, there are several different braces that can be used to rest your thumb and wrist.
Thumb Braces for de Quervain’s
Light Support Splint
If you have very mild or occasional symptoms, the 3pp ThumSpica provides light support and acts as a reminder to avoid the thumb and wrist positions that cause your pain.
Firm and Moderate Support Splints
The NEW 3pp Ez FIT ThumSpica Splint provides relief from pain while giving you the comfort you need. Ultra light and fully cushioned, the longer length provides firm adjustable support to your thumb and wrist, while leaving your fingers free for daily activities.
The Mueller Thumb Stabilizer is an easy-to-wear semi-flexible support that is ideal to help reduce your pain, while still allowing you to use your hand.
It’s important to think about the activities that cause your pain and to try to either avoid these activities until your pain subsides or try doing the activity differently to put less stress on your thumb. Injuries such as this can take quite a while to heal and removing your thumb brace too early or resuming the activities that may aggravate your problem can delay your healing process.
If your de Quervain’s is severe or long lasting, surgery may be required to release the sheath covering the tendons to allow them to move. This is usually a very successful surgery and can be a good choice when other treatments are not effective.
Consulting with your health care provider is important before attempting to treat your thumb problem. Your health care provider, or if necessary a specialist in treating hand conditions can provide you with a diagnosis and the recommended treatment options for your condition.Like what you’ve read? Click here to subscribe to the blog!
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Our blogs are presented for informational purposes only and are not to be considered medical advice. Because your condition is unique to you, it is recommended that you consult with your health care provider before attempting any medical or therapeutic intervention. We are happy to answer questions or comments pertaining to any products mentioned in our blogs, however, we cannot provide a diagnosis or medical advice.