De Quervain's Tenosynovitis

De Quervain's Tenosynovitis

De Quervain's tenosynovitis or de Quervain syndrome is pain accompanied by swelling at the base of the thumb and wrist. This pain is caused by inflammation of the tendon sheath at the base of the thumb.

Tendons are tissues that connect muscles and bones to help the body move. Inflamed tendons will swell and feel painful when moved.

When treated quickly, de Quervain's tenosynovitis can be cured with medication and therapy. However, in severe cases, sufferers need to get further treatment, such as surgery.

Causes of De Quervain's Tenosynovitis

De Quervain's tenosynovitis is caused by overuse of the thumb and wrist. A person can develop de Quervain's tenosynovitis as a result of repetitive motions in the thumb or wrist, such as pinching, squeezing, or clenching the hands.

In some cases, de Quervain's tenosynovitis is caused by injury to the wrist and inflammatory arthritis .

De Quervain's tenosynovitis can happen to anyone, but it is more at risk of attacking people who have the following risk factors:

  • Aged between 30–50 years
  • Female sex
  • Experiencing hormonal changes due to pregnancy
  • Having a job or hobby that involves repetitive movements of the thumb and wrist, for example playing tennis or playing games on a smartphone

Symptoms of De Quervain's Tenosynovitis

De Quervain's tenosynovitis is characterized by pain and swelling near the base of the thumb. This pain can appear gradually or suddenly.

In addition, this pain can also worsen when moving the thumb or wrist, for example when pinching or grasping. This condition should be dealt with quickly. If left untreated, the pain can spread to the arm.

When should you go to the doctor?

Check with your doctor if your thumb and wrist still feel sore even if you are not moving or after applying a cold compress . You may need further examination if the pain does not go away despite taking pain relievers.

Diagnosis of De Quervain's Tenosynovitis

To determine if the patient is suffering from de Quervain's tenosynovitis , the doctor will ask the patient's symptoms. After that, the doctor will perform a physical examination, including pressing the wrist that feels painful.

The doctor will also do a Finkelstein test. In this test, the patient will be asked to make a fist by placing the thumb in the fist. The clenched hand was then bent towards the little finger. If the base of the thumb feels painful, the patient is suspected of having de Quervain's tenosynovitis .

Treatment of De Quervain's Tenosynovitis

The treatment of de Quervain's tenosynovitis aims to reduce pain and inflammation, as well as restore the ability to move the thumb and wrist. Treatment methods include:

  • Administration of pain relievers, such as ibuprofen or naproxen
  • Corticosteroid injection directly in the tendon area, to relieve swelling
  • Immobilization of a splint or splint for 4–6 weeks, to keep the thumb and wrist immobile
  • Operation on the area that feels painful when handling by other means does not succeed in overcoming the complaint

To reduce pain and inflammation, as well as help the healing process, patients are advised to compress the swollen area with a cold compress , and not to do movements or activities that trigger pain for a while.

The patient can also ask the therapist for help to teach techniques for using and strengthening the wrist muscles.

If treated early, de Quervain's tenosynovitis can heal in 4–6 weeks. Once the swelling is gone, the thumb and wrist can return to normal use without pain.

Complications of De Quervain's Tenosynovitis

If not treated, de Quervain's Tenosynovitis will cause the sufferer to have difficulty moving the thumb and wrist so that daily activities become limited.

In addition to complications from the condition, there are several complications that can arise if the patient undergoes surgery, namely:

  • Injury to the thumb nerve (radialis nerve)
  • Tightness of the muscles around the base of the thumb
  • Change in position or displacement of the tendon

Prevention of De Quervain's Tenosynovitis

De Quervain's tenosynovitis can be prevented by not making repetitive movements of the wrist.

However, if the job requires you to perform such movements, rest your wrists periodically between activities and wear a wrist protector or splint.

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