DeQuervain’s syndrome is not nearly as well-known as other conditions of the hand and arm, but it does affect patients every year and is found in the tendons located on the side of the wrist closest to the thumb. When these tendons get compressed because the tunnel they run in narrows, this will cause the syndrome. The most common symptoms of deQuervain’s syndrome include pain in the thumb and hand when grasping objects or grasping and twisting, such as when opening a door knob.
The Causes of the Syndrome
It is unknown why people develop the problem, but it is not an inflammatory condition. Instead, it is simply a compression of tendons used in the hands. Anyone of any age can develop the problem. However, it is actually more common in women who have just given birth to a baby. Usually, in postpartum women, the syndrome appears when the baby is about four to six weeks of age. Doctors believe that this is due to hormones and physical swelling of the hands and feet in women that have had a baby.
So, there is no real way to predict whether or not a person will develop de Quervain syndrome. However, there are treatments available.
Generally, the first thing that will be done to treat the condition is a simple regimen to stop use of the wrist and hand. You will need to take over the counter pain relievers like Tylenol or Aspirin, and then you will need to wear a splint for a certain amount of time. From minor cases of de Quervain syndrome, this is the easiest way to cure it.
If that doesnt work, then doctors may recommend something different and more drastic:
- The area can be injected with a cortisone medication that will help to relieve swelling in the area.
- In severe cases, surgery may be needed. The surgeon will cut tendons on one side of the nerve channel to relieve pressure from it. This surgery is only saved for more severe cases that have not responded to other types of treatment.
The condition can be reversed through these treatments and most people see relief in a few weeks.
How Do I Know if I Have de Quervain Syndrome?
Only a doctor can diagnose the condition, but you can try an exercise to see if you feel pain. Curl your hand up in a fist and tuck your thumb inside of it. Now, do not move your arm, but bend your wrist down as if you were hammering a nail. People who have de Quervain syndrome will feel pain when making this motion.
If you believe you may have the syndrome, then you will need to make an appointment with a doctor. It will likely not heal on its own and you will probably only continue to feel more discomfort. However, with treatment, the syndrome can be managed or completely reversed so that you dont feel any discomfort anymore at all.