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De Quervain’s tenosynovitis is a condition that affects the tendons on the thumb side of the wrist. It is characterized by inflammation and irritation of the tendons that control the movement of the thumb. This can result in pain, swelling, and difficulty with thumb and wrist movements. Managing De Quervain’s tenosynovitis requires a comprehensive approach to reduce pain, promote healing, and restore function. Physiotherapy plays a crucial role in the treatment process, helping individuals alleviate symptoms, improve hand and thumb mobility, and prevent reoccurrence.

The treatment of De Quervain’s tenosynovitis typically involves following the 5 stages of rehab:

  1. Pain management: The initial focus is on reducing pain and inflammation in the affected area. Physiotherapists may employ various techniques such as manual therapy, soft tissue mobilization, ice therapy or splinting/bracing to alleviate pain.
  2. Range of motion: Once pain is under control, the emphasis shifts to restoring normal range of motion in the thumb and wrist. Physiotherapists prescribe gentle stretching and range of motion exercises to improve flexibility and alleviate stiffness. These exercises aim to gradually increase the mobility of the thumb and wrist without exacerbating the symptoms.
  3. Motor control: This stage focuses on improving hand and thumb coordination and strengthening the muscles involved in thumb movement. Physiotherapists prescribe specific exercises to enhance muscle activation and coordination, such as thumb opposition exercises, dexterity drills, and grip strengthening exercises. They may also provide guidance on ergonomic modifications and proper hand positioning during daily activities to reduce strain on the affected tendons.
  4. Strengthening: Strengthening the muscles of the hand and forearm is crucial for improving grip strength and reducing the risk of further irritation. Range physiotherapists will design a personalized exercise program that targets the muscles involved in thumb and finger movement. This may include exercises using therapy putty, hand grippers, or resistance bands to gradually build strength and endurance.
  5. Maintenance: The final stage focuses on maintaining the gains achieved through rehabilitation and preventing recurrence of symptoms. Range physiotherapists provide guidance on proper ergonomic principles, including posture, hand positioning, and regular breaks during repetitive activities. They may also advise individuals on self-management strategies, such as stretching exercises and modifications to activities, to minimize the risk of flare-ups.

In addition to physiotherapy, other treatment options for De Quervain’s tenosynovitis may include the use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to manage pain and inflammation. In some cases, corticosteroid injections or even surgery may be recommended, especially for severe or persistent cases.

It is important to work closely with a qualified physiotherapist who specializes in treating De Quervain’s tenosynovitis. Range physiotherapists will assess your condition, develop a tailored treatment plan based on the stages of rehab, and monitor progress throughout the rehabilitation process. With proper treatment, exercises, and modifications to activities, individuals with De Quervain’s tenosynovitis can experience significant pain reduction, improved hand function, and a return to their desired level of activity.

For more information regarding De Quervain’s tenosynovitis please see:

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