What is De Quervain’s Disease? It is inflammation of the fluid-filled sheath that surrounds the two tendons that control movement of the thumb.
What are the symptoms? Pain along the back of the thumb, directly over the two thumb tendons, is common in De Quervain’s. Some people also have swelling and pain on the side of the wrist at the base of the thumb. The pain may get worse when you move your thumb or wrist.
What causes De Quervain’s Disease? It can be caused by overuse, a direct blow to the thumb, repetitive grasping, and certain inflammatory conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis. Gardening, racquet sports, and workplace tasks may make it worse.
Who is at risk? Although anyone can get De Quervain’s, it affects women 8 – 10 times more often than men. The elderly are also at a higher risk of acquiring De Quervain’s Disease because of aging arthritic factors.
Treatments: Splints, ice application, anti-inflammatory medication, exercise, and in severe cases, surgery.
- Opposition stretch: Rest your hand on a table, palm up. Touch the tip of your thumb to the tip of your little finger. Hold this position for 6 seconds and then release. Repeat 10 times.
- Wrist stretch: Grasp your fingers of your affected hand and gently pull back towards you. Hold for 15 to 30 seconds. Next, stretch in the opposite direction towards the floor. Hold for 15 to 30 seconds. Keep the arm on your injured side straight during this exercise. Do 3 sets.
- Wrist flexion: Hold a can or hammer handle in your hand with your palm facing up. Bend your wrist upward. Slowly lower the weight and return to the starting position. Do 2 sets of 15. Gradually increase the weight of the can or weight you are holding.