Tendonitis that affects the tendons of the thumb, known as de Quervain’s tenosynovitis, can cause pain at the base of the thumb and wrist that worsens with wrist or thumb movement.
Risk Factors for De Quervain’s Tendonitis
De Quervain’s tendonitis is caused by overuse of the thumb and wrist, particularly in a side-to-side motion. The condition is often seen in new mothers and caregivers of children because of the repetitive motions involved in holding, feeding, bathing, and dressing the child. The increased swelling associated with pregnancy can also contribute to the symptoms.
Treatment for De Quervain’s Tendonitis
Avoiding repetitive activities involving the affected thumb will allow the inflammation to subside. Some patients find relief by wearing a prescription brace that immobilizes the affected joint. In extreme cases, cortisone injections or even surgery may be recommended.
How New Parents Can Prevent De Quervain’s Tendonitis
- Lift the child in a scooping fashion instead of using the wrists.
- Change positions frequently when carrying the baby or while feeding.
- Avoid clothing with lots of buttons or other fasteners that require the use of the thumbs.
- When possible, use slings and strollers to carry or transport the child to limit the strain on the arms and wrists.
- Open baby food jars with a hand-held or electric opener.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
If the pain persists or worsens, be sure to consult one of LA Hand Surgeon’s qualified board-certified hand and plastic surgeons. Contact our office to schedule your consultation.
An abnormal flexing of the end of the finger along with an abnormal extension of the middle finger joint is known as a Swan Neck deformity. The condition is normally caused by a tearing or weakness of one of the ligaments on the palmar side of the finger. Swan Neck deformities can occur following an injury or with rheumatoid arthritis.
Causes of a Swan Neck Deformity
In patients with a Swan Neck deformity, the tendons slide toward the back of the finger whenever the middle joint is extended. This causes the middle joint to become hyperextended, which makes it harder for the tendons controlling the end joint of the finger to straighten.
Symptoms of a Swan Neck Deformity
A Swan Neck deformity makes it difficult to bend the middle joint of the finger. Patients often complain of a snapping sensation when trying to bend the finger. Over time, the affected finger can become increasingly stiff.
Non-Invasive and Surgical Treatments
Treatment depends on the cause and severity of the deformity. Non-invasive treatments include placing a special ring over the affected joint to prevent the snapping and to hold the finger in the proper position. Surgical options include joint replacement or fusion or repositioning of the tendons. Patients with a Swan Neck deformity should consult with one of LA Hand Surgeon’s board-certified plastic hand surgeons to discuss their treatment options.
Stenosing tenosynovitis, commonly known as trigger thumb or trigger finger, occurs when the protective sheath that surrounds the tendons that allow the fingers and thumb to bend becomes inflamed or irritated. As a result, the tendon is no longer able to glide as the fingers and thumb open and close. Over time, the tendon can become scarred and thickened or develop nodules, which can make movement even more difficult. Click here to learn more about trigger finger, treatment and recovery.
Who is At Risk for Trigger Finger or Trigger Thumb?
Individuals who engage in work or hobbies that involve repeated or prolonged gripping or hand use are more likely to develop trigger finger or trigger thumb. The condition is also more common in women and individuals with inflammatory conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis, or diabetes.
Symptoms of Stenosing Tenosynovitis
Stenosing tenosynovitis can affect any finger and often affects more than one finger at a time. Symptoms may progress from mild to severe as the inflammation and damage to the tendon worsen.
Symptoms typically include:
- a nodule or tenderness at the base of the affected finger,
- stiffness that is normally worse in the morning,
- a finger pops or clicks with movement, and
- a finger catches or locks when bent and then pops straight suddenly.
In severe cases, the bent finger may become locked to the point that it cannot be straightened.
Trigger Finger Treatment
Mild to moderate cases of trigger finger or trigger thumb may be treated with conservative measures, including:
- over-the-counter or prescription anti-inflammatories,
- stretching exercises,
- rest, or
- steroid injections.
In severe cases, the doctor may need to perform a procedure to release the constriction so that the tendon can move freely. One method involves inserting a needle into the area around the tendon to break apart the constriction. Another method involves making a small incision to open up the constricted tendon sheath. The majority of patients are able to move the affected fingers normally immediately after the procedure. Depending on the severity of the condition, the doctor may recommend physical therapy following the surgery.
Contact us, Los Angeles’s best team of board-certified plastic hand surgeons, to schedule your consultation and learn how to best treat your symptoms of trigger finger. If you have not yet been diagnosed but feel you may have many if not most of the above symptoms, you should see a board-certified hand surgeon to obtain a proper diagnosis.