05 February 2019

DeQuervain syndrome

De Quervain syndrome is inflammation of two tendons that control movement of the thumb and their tendon sheath. This results in pain at the outside of the wrist. Pain is typically increased with gripping or rotating the wrist. The thumb may also be difficult to move smoothly. Onset of symptoms is gradual. Risk factors include certain repetitive movements, pregnancy, trauma, and rheumatic diseases. The diagnosis is generally based on symptoms and physical examination. It is supported if pain increases when the wrist is bent inwards while a person is grabbing their thumb within a fist. Treatment involves avoiding activities that bring on the symptoms, pain medications such as NSAIDs, and splinting the thumb. If this is not effective steroid injections or surgery may be recommended...

The cause of de Quervain's disease is not established. Evidence regarding a possible relation with occupational risk factors is debated. A systematic review of potential risk factors discussed in the literature did not find any evidence of a causal relationship with occupational factors. However, researchers in France found personal and work-related factors were associated with de Quervain's disease in the working population; wrist bending and movements associated with the twisting or driving of screws were the most significant of the work-related factors. Proponents of the view that De Quervain syndrome is a repetitive strain injury consider postures where the thumb is held in abduction and extension to be predisposing factors. Workers who perform rapid repetitive activities involving pinching, grasping, pulling or pushing have been considered at increased risk. Specific activities that have been postulated as potential risk factors include intensive computer mouse use, trackball use, and typing, as well as some pastimes, including bowling, golf, fly-fishing, piano-playing, sewing, and knitting...

BlackBerry thumb is a neologism that refers to a form of repetitive strain injury (RSI) caused by the frequent use of the thumbs to press buttons on PDAs, smartphones, or other mobile devices. The name of the condition comes from the BlackBerry, a brand of smartphone that debuted in 1999, although there are numerous other similar eponymous conditions that exist such as "Wiiitis", "Nintendinitis", "Playstation thumb", "texting thumb", "cellphone thumb", "smartphone thumb", "Android thumb", and "iPhone thumb"... 
"Wiiitis" now gives us a word with a triple-I. 


  1. We do at least a couple of these every week, between 4 hand surgeons. I believe they think there is a genetic component.

  2. Another symptom (I had this last year) is that in a healthy thumb you can usually make a right angle with it and your hand. You cannot do this with De Quervains. Physical therapy totally cured mine and surgery and (worse!) cortisone shots not recommended any more!! So many ways to screw up in that very sensitive and full of nerves and stuff area!!

  3. piano player and woodsplitter here. this stuff is tough, take care of yourself, all


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