De Quervain’s Tenosynovitis: (Fitness and Exercise Tips)
De Quervain’s tenosynovitis is a disease of the thumb and the wrist named after Dr. Fritz de Quervain, a Swiss surgeon who first diagnosed the disease in the 1890s. This condition can cause pain even while doing something as basic as grasping small items, making day to day living difficult.
In a study conducted among the young and active population, it was found out that women were eight to ten times more likely to suffer from de Quervain’s tenosynovitis than men. Additional studies have also interestingly linked frequent texting on a cell phone with similar pain in the thumb or wrist.
The exact cause of the disease is still unknown but some risk factors have been identified.
Understanding De Quervain’s Tenosynovitis
Any activity that puts repetitive stress on your hand or wrist can lead to the inflammation of the tendons in your wrist and thumb; activities may include playing tennis, lifting heavy grocery bags, and gardening.
The disease can even result from a trauma to the thumb or inflammatory conditions like rheumatoid arthritis. When the tendons become inflamed or constricted, hand movements which are supposed to be smooth and frictionless become painful.
Signs and Symptoms
- Sharp or dull pain and swelling near the base or along the back of your thumb
- Sticking or snapping sensation in your thumb
- Pain worsens when you move or use your thumb or wrist
- Difficulty in grasping, making a fist, or pinching
- If the condition remains untreated, the pain might radiate to your forearm
- Avoid the repetitive use of the affected thumb and wrist.
- Participate in low-intensity exercises such as swimming and yoga.
- To reduce pressure on your wrist, your doctor might advise you to wear a wrist support or a wrist splint.
- Apply an ice pack to the affected area to reduce the inflammation.
- Take over-the-counter pain medications as needed.
Exercises You Can Do After Settling The Pain
Do not do the following exercises if your thumb and wrist are still painful. You can only do them after 2-3 weeks of wearing a wrist support. It is best to get a clearance from your doctor first before subjecting your hands to exercises.
The goal of the strengthening exercises is to reduce painful symptoms and aid in the recovery process.
- Place your affected hand palm down on any flat surface. With your other hand, gently move the thumb away and slowly place it back. Do this for 5-10 times and repeat every 2 hours.
- Place your affected hand on a table with your palms facing upwards. Lift your thumb and pinky finger then gently press their tips together. Hold this position for five seconds before releasing. Repeat for 10 times.
- Rest your forearm on a table with your hand over the edge, perpendicular to the table top (thumb should be pointing upwards). Slowly lower your wrist towards the floor with the little finger going down first. Using your other hand, move your affected hand back to its starting position. Do for 5-10 times every 2 hours.
- Put your affected hand palm down on a table. Gently move your thumb out to the side (no other finger should be moving) and then return it slowly. Do this for 5-10 times. Back to your starting position, lift the thumb again but this time, as far as you can as long as there is no pain or discomfort. Return it down. Do this for another 10 times.
- Grasp a tennis ball and gently squeeze it. Increase the pressure as long as you still feel comfortable. Hold it for five seconds before releasing your grip. Repeat for 5-10 times.
- Grab any small item; it can be the tennis ball you used previously or something heavier (you can increase the weight if there’s no pain). With your arms flat on the table and palm facing up, hold the weight and lift your wrist. Then, slowly lower it down. Do this for 15-30 times.
- Place a rubber band around your thumb and fingers. Stretch it using your thumb and move it against resistance. Repeat for 10 times.
Fitness Tips to Prevent Worsening of Condition
- Before and after using your thumb and wrist, loosen the muscles by massaging the surrounding area.
- Don’t go beyond what feels comfortable. You might slow down the healing process if you force it too much and too fast.
- Take your time. The last thing you want is for any jerky movement to further aggravate your pain.
- When holding something, try to use one or both hands to avoid pinching it and adding stress to your thumb.
- Use a jar opener or other assistive devices. You can also ask for someone else’s help in opening jars or doing any similar activity.
Keep in mind that once you develop this condition, you need to be extra careful in your every movement to avoid aggravating the symptoms. Consult your doctor immediately if the symptoms are getting worse.
About The Author:
Joe Fleming is the President at ViveHealth.com. Interested in all things related to living a healthy lifestyle, he enjoys sharing and expressing his passion through writing. Working to motivate others and defeat aging stereotypes, Joe uses his writing to help all people overcome the obstacles of life. Covering topics that range from physical health, wellness, and aging all the way to social, news, and inspirational pieces…the goal is to help others “rebel against age”.