De Quervain’s syndrome is what doctors often call ‘texting thumb’ or ‘gamer’s thumb’ – and both these conditions are seen more frequently nowadays as people use their phones and play on-line games more frequently.
These repetitive texting movements can lead to inflammation of the tendon sheath (tenosynovitis) and causing pain on the inside of the wrist and forearm just above the thumb. If the problem isn’t treated, pain may spread up the forearm or further down into the wrist and thumb. As the friction increases, the tendons may begin to squeak – a noise called crepitus.
It is usually easy to diagnose and one of the best ways to make the diagnosis is the Finklestein Test.
You can do the Finklestein Test yourself by bending your thumb into the palm and grasping the thumb with your fingers making a fist with the thumb inside. Then bend your wrist away from your thumb. If you feel pain over the tendons to the thumb, your problem may be de Quervain’s tenosynovitis, a doctor can help you with this diagnosis.
De Quervain’s tenosynovitis affects two thumb tendons. These tendons are called the abductor pollicis longus (APL) and the extensor pollicis brevis (EPB). Inflammation here can lead to swelling, which hampers the smooth gliding action of the tendons.
We will isolate the area that needs to be treated, then using our focussed shockwave equipment we will start sending gentle impulses to the area. The shockwave treatment will bring new blood vessels into the damaged tendons and healing begins to occur. Discomfort will be kept to a minimum and gradually the impulses will become more intense, although little pain will be felt and if it is it will gradually dissipate over a few days.
Generally, shockwave for de Quervain’s Syndrome will resolve after three to four sessions, depending on your condition and how long you may have suffered with it, while early diagnosis can reduce the number of sessions needed. Sometimes it may take several weeks for the full effects to be felt. The alternative is invasive surgery.
It is important that you work with your physical therapist to ensure that you have an exercise regime and massage to ensure full recovery.