My Experience With De Quervain’s Tenosynovitis

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A common injury that can occur among new mothers, known as De Quervain’s Tenosynovitis, is a painful condition in the wrist(s) caused by tendons in the thumbs. Unusual repetitive positions and movements (such as holding and feeding a baby) can cause this ailment. I developed this when my daughter was a newborn and am so glad that I sought treatment for it. 

According to the Mayo Clinic,De Quervain’s tenosynovitis is a painful condition affecting the tendons on the thumb side of your wrist. If you have de Quervain’s tenosynovitis, it will probably hurt when you turn your wrist, grasp anything or make a fist.”

I can personally vouch for this, while it doesn’t sound serious and didn’t start out bad, this really affected me and my ability to safely care for my child. When my daughter was about eight to twelve weeks old, I noticed my left wrist was incredibly sore. After some time, rest, and taking over-the-counter medicine, I decided to go to my regular doctor.

However, he misdiagnosed me (not totally his fault, he isn’t a specialist). After being in pain for months it started to get much worse, and the pain would shoot up my arm when holding my baby, cooking, cleaning, etc. One day I dropped a pot of super hot water and was afraid I would drop my baby. So, I followed my mom’s advice and went to an orthopedic doctor. 

I saw a Physician’s Assistant and he immediately knew what was wrong. He did one simple test and bent my wrist down, and I nearly came out of my chair. He explained to me that De Quervain’s often affected new moms from holding and feeding their children, with the sudden different use of your wrist(s) the tendons in the thumbs become incredibly inflamed, causing shooting pains.

I got a proper arm brace and an injection of cortisone into my wrist. The pain was gone within hours. Depending on the severity, this condition can require up to three injections, and then a simple surgery is performed if the injections are not effective. I also learned that typically this condition will go away once a child begins to walk, and the mother’s wrists aren’t as stressed.

I required all three injections, spaced out over about six to eight months. The injections would wear off after about eight weeks. Although I was in pain initially for quite some time, I am glad that I got the injections when I did because my wrist was just beginning to hurt again when my daughter got good at walking, and I wasn’t required to carry her as much. The soreness was totally gone once she was about thirteen months old.

If you or someone you know has this type of pain please get in with a specialist to see what can be done. It is definitely worth it! 

Have you had De Quervain’s Tenosynovitis? What was your experience like?

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Elizabeth is a South Carolina native who has lived in the Lowcountry, Midlands, and Upstate. She grew up in Greenville but has called the Midlands home since 2004. Elizabeth attended USC and graduated in 2013 with a degree in English Literature. She met her husband, Matt, in 2009 and they married in 2016. Her daughter Molly was born in July of 2019. After college, she had administrative jobs until transitioning to a stay-at-home mom once Molly was born. When needed she helps her husband run his business where he refinishes and installs hardwood flooring. Their rescue dog, Beatrice, has been part of the family for 11 years. They enjoy many trips to Riverbanks Zoo and the great parks in the Irmo area. A fun fact about Elizabeth is she has played bagpipes for 20 years. She has played at all types of events ranging from parades and weddings to Carolina and Clemson football games. Currently, her main hobby is watching Netflix after her daughter goes to bed as well as the occasional trip to Target by herself.

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