In DeQuervain’s tenosynovitis, you suffer with wrist and thumb pain. It is commonly known as ‘mummy thumb’. It is caused by inflammation of the tendons and/or their sheaths as they run through a passage called the ‘snuffbox’ in your wrist, causing a restriction in movement and ultimately pain.
It commonly develops during pregnancy, as the build-up of fluid and excess swelling cause pressure on the passage and it’s underlying tendons. Up to 50% of new mothers can experience this condition. It is frequently aggravated by activities of infant care and housework. Repetitive lifting, carrying and prolonged mal-positioning of the wrist are the main culprits.
Symptoms of tenosynovitis:
- Pain, tenderness and swelling at the base of the thumb and wrist
- Pain when you make a fist….difficulties with gripping, pinching, squeezing, grasping
- Pain when you move your thumb away from your index finger….especially when lifting an infant under the armpits
- Pain that may radiate up your forearm
Physiotherapy for tenosynovitis:
- Advice on activity modification: breastfeeding/feeding positions, sustained/prolonged positions and repetitive movements, housework and daily activities
- Provision of thumb spica splints and/or wrist splints to rest the joints and tissues & reduce inflammation
- Teaching exercises and stretches
- Soft tissue massage
- Exercises for joint control and stability
- Electrotherapy as required
- Advice on pain management and other therapeutic options