De Quervain’s Tenosynovitis, also called â€œwasherwoman sprain,â€ is a condition of the hand that typically affects people who do continuous, fast, repetitive movements. The patient can experience a sudden onset of the condition or it can be gradual, beginning with tenderness in the thumb area and slowly progressing. It can restrict activity, but it doesnâ€™t have to be a long-term disability. Chiropractic care can help relieve the symptoms of De Quervainâ€™s Tenosynovitis and the hand can return to normal function.
What Is De Quervain’s Tenosynovitis?
De Quervain’s Tenosynovitis is a condition affecting the thumb side of the wrist. It is a very painful condition that makes many everyday activities difficult or impossible. Many activities like playing golf, lifting a child, garden work, and racket sports can worsen the condition.
What are the Symptoms of De Quervain’s Tenosynovitis?
There are several distinctive symptoms of De Quervainâ€™s tenosynovitis which include:
- Pain near or at the base of the thumb
- Difficulty moving or controlling the thumb and wrist when doing activities that involve pinching or grasping
- Swelling near or at the base of the thumb
- A â€œcatchâ€ or â€œstickingâ€ sensation when moving the thumb
If the condition is allowed to progress or goes untreated it can involve the forearm and entire thumb, causing pain and swelling in those areas. The pain and symptoms can be exacerbated by movements that involve the wrist and thumb. The symptoms can last for a long time, weeks or even months.
What causes De Quervain’s Tenosynovitis?
The exact cause of De Quervainâ€™s Tenosynovitis is not known, but the condition is commonly associated with chronic overuse of the wrist. Some tendons connect the wrist and lower thumb, enabling movement like grasping, gripping, pinching, and wringing. The tendons slide through a sheath as they facilitate the movement. Over time, the sheath can swell and thicken which inhibits the amount of the tendonâ€™s movement. When the actions are repetitive, they can irritate the sheath, resulting in inflammation.
Who is at Risk for De Quervain’s Tenosynovitis?
Research has identified several groups that are at risk for developing De Quervainâ€™s Tenosynovitis:
- 30 to 50 years of age with a higher concentration statistically around 40
- African ethnicity or descent
- Caring for a child or baby
- Works at a job that involves repetitive wrist and hand motions
- Excessive text messaging on a smartphone or cell phone (can include younger
This condition has typically been considered to be one that affects people who are middle-aged. However, with the popularity of texting, many young people experience symptoms of De Quervainâ€™s. In one study, more than half of students who texted extensively were labeled positive for De Quervainâ€™s.
What are the Treatments for De Quervain’s Tenosynovitis?
Treatment for De Quervainâ€™s Tenosynovitis include:
- Resting the affected thumb and wrist
- Bracing or immobilization
- Ice to the affected area
- Anti-inflammatory medications like ibuprofen and naproxen
If standard treatment is not effective it may be necessary to seek medical attention. If the condition is severe or chronic, the doctor may inject corticosteroid directly into the tendon sheath. Surgery for De Quervainâ€™s is not common, but it may be deemed necessary in order to release the thumb. The speed of healing and degree of normal use of the thumb depends on the treatment chosen and if the activity that exacerbates the condition is stopped.
Can Chiropractic Help De Quervain’s Tenosynovitis?
A chiropractor may recommend rest, ice, and bracing for a patient with De Quervainâ€™s Tenosynovitis. Upon reviewing the patientâ€™s lifestyle and habits, he or she may also advise ergonomic changes, modification of activity, and reduce exposure to positions that exacerbate the symptoms. Soft tissue therapies may be used to quickly bring relief to the soft tissue, minimizing the inflammation and pain. As the pain decreases, the chiropractor will recommend specific strengthening and stretching exercises that involve the wrist, thumb, and forearm.
With regular care and modification to activities, the condition can be healed and full mobility of the thumb and wrist can be restored.
Chronic Elbow Pain Treatment
The information herein on "What Is De Quervain's Tenosynovitis & Can Chiropractic Help" is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional, licensed physician, and is not medical advice. We encourage you to make your own health care decisions based on your research and partnership with a qualified health care professional.
Our information scope is limited to chiropractic, musculoskeletal, physical medicines, wellness, sensitive health issues, functional medicine articles, topics, and discussions. We provide and present clinical collaboration with specialists from a wide array of disciplines. Each specialist is governed by their professional scope of practice and their jurisdiction of licensure. We use functional health & wellness protocols to treat and support care for the injuries or disorders of the musculoskeletal system.
Our videos, posts, topics, subjects, and insights cover clinical matters, issues, and topics that relate to and support, directly or indirectly, our clinical scope of practice.*
Our office has made a reasonable attempt to provide supportive citations and has identified the relevant research study or studies supporting our posts. We provide copies of supporting research studies available to regulatory boards and the public upon request.
We understand that we cover matters that require an additional explanation of how it may assist in a particular care plan or treatment protocol; therefore, to further discuss the subject matter above, please feel free to ask Dr. Alex Jimenez or contact us at 915-850-0900.
We are here to help you and your family.
Dr. Alex Jimenez DC, MSACP, CIFM*, IFMCP*, ATN*, CCST
My Digital Business Card