Sharp pain in the wrist and thumb

De Quervain’s tenosynovitis


If you are experiencing pain on your wrist, on the thumb’s side then you might have an inflammation of the tendons called “De Quervain’s tenosynovitis”.
This is an inflammation of the tendons in the thumb which cause pain when you move your thumb, grab things or put any kind of force on your thumb. 
The pain can start little by little or it can start suddenly, but the main cause of the inflammation is overuse of the hand, especially overuse of the thumb. 

How to know if you have De Quervain’s tenosynovitis?

1.    If you have a job in which you use your hands (thumbs) a lot such as typing on the computer all day, doing massage all day and putting your body weight on your hands, doing any kind of work that need you to grip at something hard for a long period of time. Playing sports where you grip something such as tennis, golf. Etc. 

2.    The pain started without any sudden injury, for example if you fell on your hand and the pain started then most likely it is NOT De Quervain’s.

3.    Do the “Finkelstein test”. It is a simple test that you can do yourself. Simply make a fist with the thumb inside the fist and bend your hand towards the pinkie side. If there is pain on your thumb side of the hand then you most likely have a positive result. 


How to treat it?

The pain is caused by inflammation of the tendons because of overuse. 
To treat the inflammation = Ice the area. Grab a towel and wrap some ice and then ice your thumb and wrist for about 10-15 minutes, 3 times a day for about 3-4 days. 
To treat the overuse = Simply avoid use. Don’t use the hand that hurts, use some sort of splint to avoid moving the thumb. Stop any activities that cause pain, and don’t put any weight on your hand. You should avoid using your hand until the pain goes away.

Acupuncture/ acupressure points

Injuries of the tendons take longer to recover, it could take from 4-6 weeks. Acupuncture treatment can help you heal much faster and prevent it from happening again.
Because De Quervain’s mostly affects the tendons of the “Abductor pollicis longus” and the “extensor pollicis brevis” which are both muscles of the thumb, acupuncture treatment is performed points along the Long intestine meridian. 
1.    LI-4 (合谷)
2.    LI-6 (遍歴)
3.    LI-7 (温溜)
4.    LI-10(手三里)

Good luck and until next Thursday. 


Multilingual acupuncturist travelling the world