Sunday, November 11, 2007

DeQuervain's Tenosynovitis - Repetitive Strain Thumb Pain

The details of sore thumb syndrome ...

Mouse use, keyboard activity, use of PDAs and cell-phone texting can all be causes of thumb pain. DeQuervain’s Tenosynovitis is an inflammation of the tendon or tendon sheath at the base of the thumb where it connects to the wrist. The tendons that pull the thumb away from the fingers (into the "hitch-hiking" position) become inflamed and irritated as they pass beneath the ligament that holds the tendons to the bone at the wrist.

Symptoms of DeQuervain’s Tenosynovitis Include:

* Pain at the base of the thumb. As the injury becomes worse, the pain may travel up the forearm or down the thumb.
* Swelling at the base of the thumb.
* Increased pain with such activities such as wringing motions of the wrist, unscrewing a jar lid, opening a car door, turning a key, or buttoning a shirt.
* Increased pain with pinch, grasping, or other thumb movements.
* Increased pain with pouring type motions, holding plastic grocery bags, or hammering type motions that pull the wrist down towards the small finger side of the hand.
* Clumsiness and dropping objects when pain causes grip to be insecure.

Causes of DeQuervain’s Tenosynovitis Include:

* Activities requiring wringing motions of the wrist.
* Repetitive activities that move the wrist in the direction of the small finger, especially with grip (for example, pouring from a pitcher or using a hammer) or if the thumb is held in the palm of the hand (using a buffing or grinding machine).
* Holding the thumb rigidly in the hitch-hiking position (for example, when held tensely off the keyboard while typing).

Preventing DeQuervain’s Tenosynovitis:

* Work with the wrist in a neutral position. The wrist should not be bent forward or back or tilted to one side or the other.
* Use ergonomically designed tools with modified handles that help maintain the wrist in a neutral position if they are available. The split keyboard can help position the wrist in a more comfortable, less stressful position.
* Avoid holding the thumb in the palm of the hand while bending the wrist towards the palm or towards the small finger side of the hand."    (Continued via BellaOnline, Marji Hajic)    [Ergonomics Resources]

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