De Quervain’s Syndrome

De QuervainWell done! You’ve taken the first steps to understanding and relieving your De Quervain’s Syndrome! Once you read this page answer the questions on the sheet given by your physiotherapist at Musculoskeletal Physiotherapy Australia and bring that to your next treatment session. Recovery from your De Quervain’s Syndrome is crucial in order to achieve your goals and gain rapid and long-lasting results. Your physiotherapist at Musculoskeletal Physiotherapy Australia has requested that you read this page so that you understand your condition and know how to best manage in between physiotherapy consultations.

What is De Quervain’s Syndrome?

De Quervain’s Syndrome is a condition of the wrist which results in pain on the radial (the side closest to the thumb) side of the wrist. It can cause pain with rotation of the wrist, making a fist or grasping an item, or if you move your thumb away from the radial side of your wrist, towards the opposite side of the hand (the ulnar side). The condition describes a thickening of the sheath that surrounds the tendon of the extensor pollicus logus and abductor pollicus brevis (two of the muscles that operate the thumb), as well as the tendons themselves, in more severe cases.

What caused my De Quervain’s Tenosinovitis?

De Quervain’s Syndrome is usually considered to be an overuse injury. Activities involving repetitive pinching, grasping, pulling or pushing may put you at higher risk. This risk is further increased if it comes with a sudden increase in activity.

How can you help me with my De Quervain’s Syndrome?

human-hand-de-quervain-syndrome A detailed history, taken by your Musculoskeletal Physiotherapy Australia Clinician, of the pain or injury can determine the underlying cause of your De Quervain’s Syndrome, while a physical assessment of the wrist, fingers, elbow and surrounding structures, can determine the best course of action in treating the condition. Usually, treatment will involve strategies for lifting/grasping objects, as well as treatment to allow the tendon to move more freely within its sheath. Treatment may also include exercises to strengthen or lengthen appropriate muscles.

What should I do to avoid aggravating my De Quervain’s Syndrome?

  • AVOID activities that aggravate the pain, such as picking up things like a kettle or heavy saucepan (your physiotherapist can show you strategies to avoid aggravating your pain).
  • DO try gentle, pain-free movements of the wrist and fingers (note: PAIN-FREE).
  • Applying non-steroidal anti-inflammatories may help to reduce pain in the short term, if inflammation is present. CONSULT your PHARMACIST regarding their use.
  • For RELIEF, try applying heat to the affected area. If using a heat pack, be sure to heat based on the guidelines of that particular heat pack, and always wrap the heat pack in a towel to avoid burn. DO NOT apply heat if the area is red or inflamed. CEASE if you have any negative reaction.
  • REMAIN ACTIVE, but avoid aggravating activities.
  • RECEIVE physiotherapy care to get your joints, ligaments and muscles de-loaded and moving freely with no restrictions.
Keep good care of your body and your physiotherapist will continue to monitor your condition. Once your De Quervain’s Syndrome has resolved you will be able to resume your full activities without worrying about future flare-ups.
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