NBC Washington DC featured a health story last night on De Quervain’s tendinitis, a painful inflammatory condition of the tendons on the thumb side of the wrist that is typically due to activities that involve repeated hand or wrist movement. The story did a good job describing some of the causes and aggravating activities that included lifting babies and using smart phones, but it fell short on the treatment options. It mentioned the use of a brace, anti-inflammatory medication, cortisone injections and surgery as a last resort, but it failed to mention physical therapy as a conservative treatment intervention. Physical therapy has a lot to offer someone suffering from this condition. Treatment could include education for activity modification, self-management and use of a splint, modalities such as ultrasound, iontophoresis and laser therapy, manual therapy, and exercise therapy. Certainly therapy should be attempted prior to considering surgery and in some cases even a cortisone injection.
Check out our educational resource on De Quervain’s tenosynovitis for more detailed information.