What is De Quervain Syndrome?
This condition of the thumb/wrist area is rather common and can be designated by different names:
  • Texting thumb
  • Gamer’s thumb
  • Mommy Thumb or mother’s wrist
  • Washerwoman’s sprain

De Quervain’s disease is a type of tenosynovitis affecting one or more tendons around the thumb: they become swollen, painful and movements can be limited.

How does it happen?

Tendons are enclosed in a sheath inside which they can slide to allow movement of the body. A liquid called Synovia allows lubrification inside the sheath. When repetitive or excessive movements of the hands are made, this liquid can become scarce: the tendons will then start rubbing against the sheath walls resulting in an abnormal thickening that will constrict the tendons.

What are the symptoms?

Pain is felt at the base of the thumb and up towards the forearm while moving the thumb away from the hand. Movement like torsion and hard gripping can become painful.

The affected zone can become inflamed: warm, swollen and painful to the touch.

Who is at risk?

Unfortunately, everybody is susceptible to be affected by the De Quervain Tenosynovitis at some point in their life, but it mainly appears between the ages of 30 and 50.

Women also tend to be more affected, particularly pregnant women. Diabetics and people suffering from rheumatoid arthritis are also more at risk.

What to do?

The main thing to do is resting the articulation as much as possible. That is why a Thumb/Wrist brace which will limit the thumb movements is a must-have.

Applying cold on the affected area for few minute can also help in managing the pain.

If left untreated, the pain can persist even during resting time.

Consult with a doctor when this signs appear. Some physiotherapy sessions can be prescribed in some cases to strengthen the muscles of the hand and wrist.

For prevention: optimize the ergonomics of your work station. Regular breaks and stretching are also recommended.