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De Quervain's surgery and recovery
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De Quervain's surgery and recovery

I  had surgery on my left wrist for De Quervain's on Dec 20.  My stitches and cast were removed last Thursday and they had some make a splint for me.  The splint is extremely uncomfortable as I am left handed, so I have not been wearing anything.  After a while my wrist will get so sore that I feel nauseated.  I am just wondering if I am doing damage by not wearing the splint.
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Avatar_f_tn
have u had physical therapy after the surgery?
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Avatar_n_tn
This surgery was performed on Jan 10, 2007, on my right hand. The sutures were removed on Jan 24, 2007.  The doctor immediately released me to work, where I type all day on a computer, with no restrictions, no splint, and no physical therapy. This was after he remarked that the swelling  and bruising (due to so much damage that had to be repaired) should be causing me a fair bit of pain.  Is this the normal course of action?  How long before the pain should subside?
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Avatar_n_tn
    I have had a on going problem with pain in my thumb (at the base) and slightly in my wrist, , i have had a steriod shot, and splints and meds etc, nothing is working, i have had only one shot , and novacaine,  and with in hours (3 at most) the pain is substancially worse than it was before i got the shot.  My hand surgeon is/was thinking De Quervains Disease, now he is not so sure, this has been going on since aug 1st 2007.  What i am asking is, what else could it be, what should my next step be?
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Avatar_n_tn
I had surgery on my right wrist last friday 17th  october my consultant did the surgery which took only nine mins, I have not been given any splints, or anything and he said that I can do normal things straight away but the pain is so bad when I try to do anything with it  do you know how long it takes for any sort of recovery? I thought things would be better but they dont seem to be . is this because the surgery has not worked or that its just recovery time
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Avatar_n_tn
hi

I had the injection which didnt work for me and like you it was much worse, so I had the operation on the 17th august 2008 and Im still having problems with it, Im still in alot of pain and there are things I still cant do, Im going to see my consultant on the 12th november for his final prognosis, but I can already tell him that as far as i am concerned its not worked, didnt know what to expect or what the final result should have been but feel very dissapointed with the outcome. Dont know how you feel?

but I really hope you have more luck than I have had, all the best.

julie
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Avatar_n_tn
I am having Tendonitis now going 3 months and it hurt so bad to the point that my right hand is almost useless,my 1st doctor have given me some anti-inflamatory to ease the pain and to treat the inflamation (inflammation) but after 3 weeks,sad to say it did'nt worked so i was thinking to have a surgery,this is my first time ever so i am asking if this is painful?how long it take to have a De Quervain surgery?thanks a lot and wish me luck....
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Avatar_n_tn
I just had surgery (about 3 weeks ago) after living in excruciating pain for 2 years.  They started me off with a brace where I couldn't move my thumb.  When that didn't work, I received a cortisone shot.  It felt fine, then it was back with a vengeance in about a year.  I got another cortisone shot then.  In about 3 months, it can back with such pain that it was unbearable.  With the surgery, my pain has gone down from a constant 7 (on the pain scale 1-10 with 10 being highest) which would sometimes shoot up to a 9, to a 0 to 3.  I do some activities with my brace on, like typing, but all other times, I wear my brace from when I first got tendinitis.  Since it's such a short surgery, it's usually easy to get an appointment.  When I decided to have the surgery done, I decided on a Wednesday.  The next Monday I was in the operating room (and I got put to sleep due to a fear of needles).  But, many doctors will only do surgery as a last resort.  I'm a college student currently, and a student teacher, so I know how hard it is to not be able to use your right hand.
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Avatar_f_tn
Hi, how is your hand now?  I have been diagnosed with de quervains in both hands but my right hand is worse.  Had splints and a steroid injection when the splints didn't work, but only worked briefly and I go back tomorrow to see the consultant who said it would be surgery if the injection didn't work.  I'm a bit nervous, I work in a busy office environment and do a lot of typing, if I have the op, how will this be affected in recovering as in being able to use my hand?
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Avatar_f_tn
I started with pain right hand in 2004. After a few doctorss, de quervains diagnosis, cortisone shot, therapy, accupuncture and everything else, I had surgery in Dec. 2007. Horrible but it seemed successful. For the next 2 yrs my hand hurt on and off but less than b4 the surgery. The typing isn't the problem, it's the mouse & texting when I feel the most pain. It's starting to hurt more (even though I don't type or do repetitive tasks as often as I use to). So 2 years later my hand is hurting again (the reason I'm reading & looking for info). The pain is in the same area but different than before, I am wondering if this is common and normal?! I hope it's just a flare-up. Any comments regarding this? Thanks.
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Avatar_n_tn
If the splint hurts, see if you can go back and have it refitted. I had a splint made for my De Quervain's and the first one did not fit well. So I just called and went back to he hand therapist who made my splint. She remolded it and now it fits well and I do have any rubbing or pain from the splint.
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Avatar_f_tn
When I was 8 months pregnant I developed a very bad pain in both of my wrists/thumbs. I went and saw a hand Dr. and he numbed the area to diagnose me with De Qiervain's. He said to do the surgery right away. I was skeptical because of what I read on the internet about all the things I should try first. He said cortosone shots will just prolong the problem and nothing will make it go away but surgery. So since I have 5 little kids and work on the computer I needed to do something fast because I could not function it hurt so bad. I had surgery dec 11th 2009 on both of my wrists. I am pain free! This has been the best thing ever! There is still a slight tightening feeling when I try to bend my wrist towards my pinkie..other than that I can use my thumbs just fine now.
  I was put asleep for the procedure and woke up to my hands wrapped in ace bandages. I bruised really bad on my left wrist due to the tendon being "torn up badly". I kept the bandages on for about 5 days then removed them and just kept cotton with a piece of medical tape over the incision sight till I saw my Dr. 14 days later. He said they look great and I could go back to doing whatever I want. I started lifting weights again and doing my girls hair and of course typing. everyday gets better of course. It takes time for anything to heel but this surgery worked great for me and I hope it does for you too! Best of Luck
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Avatar_n_tn
I had read all kinds of posts about De Quervains, most negative but occassionaly a positive one here and there. I suffered for over six months until I decided to have surgery. The pain had come on seemingly overnight, we thought it was just a sprained thumb. But, by the time I had surgery, I couldn't write, couldn't open doors, use scissors, etc. It was a lot of pain and I do not have a job of repetitive use nor am I a new mother. It just happened.
So I am now six weeks post op from the surgery. There were moments during these last six weeks that I questioned why I had the surgery, I had a lot of nerve pain, skin tenderness etc. But I am happy to say that by following ALL the doctor's instructions, doing physical therapy and very important Scar massage, I am doing really well. The nerve pain is fading and I feel like my hand is back as good as new. I DON'T overdue it though.  You really need to baby your hand and not go over board. It is easy to do when it feels so much better but in the long run you will be happy for it.
Thanks.
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Avatar_f_tn
well hello to my fellow de quervain sufferers. i am too like you all suffering with pain. i have been diagosed with de quervain's al most a year ago... i wore the brace and it didnt work. i also received 3 injection in my left wrist. i finally got the surgery this year feb/2010. i regret to say that i have not felt this much pain since i had the surgery it is worst. i am constantly in pain. i have to take sleeping pills just to go to sleep at night. my left hand and forearm hurts to the touch. nothing helps. my dr. did not send me to physical therapy, instead he said to continue work with no restrictions. i draw blood, pump a blood pressure cuff, do EKG and give injections i am not healing and i feel like my wrist never had a chance to rest....... what's next
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Avatar_n_tn
KHAJI,
I too have bilateral de quervains I work as a lab tech and this all started Jun 09. I was off 6 weeks last summer with injections and 24/7 splint wearing. Got better went back to work got worse. Had surgery Oct 09 and have been off (except 3 days in Dec I tried to go back and had to go back home)  My surgeon just released me back to work with the restrictions of no blood drawing. So I am going  back to work  I only work 20 hrs /week anyway so I go back to those hours with the restrictions.  I have learned a lot these past 5 months.  The first and most important thing is to wear the splints 24/7 stay home from work ( I filed a work comp claim) and rest rest rest those thumbs. I started hand therapy 10 days post op  and have been going most weeks twice weekly.  This is a serious thing and if you don't recover the right way you will be having problems forever.  I am at about 90% pain free and the pain is mild and only if  I pick up something too heavy or if I do too much without my splints. It's been slow going but I am seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.  I still have good days and a few not so good.. You my friend need to get proactive and demand your doctor to give you a work release and stay home if you can, otherwise you put yourself at risk for this not getting better. Remember the operation just releases the tendons it does not take away the inflammation that started this mess to begin with.  This will affect your livelyhood get off your butt and get er done!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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Avatar_m_tn
I had my surgery last May 20 for DQT.  My pain started during the third trimester of my third pregnancy.  It was painful but bearable, only when it gets bumped by accident that it hurts really bad.  At first I was diagnosed with ganglionic cyst and was given a cortisone shot six after being diagnosed but three months later the pain was back.  I tried to bear the pain which was getting worse.  To make story short, after almost two years of pain I went to another doctor who right away scheduled a surgery.  So now I am hoping that this surgery will heal nicely and get rid of the pain.
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Avatar_f_tn
I am 4 months post injection for deQuervains. I was referred to the doctor for an ultrasound/MRI, but he assured me I did not need it and an injection in my wrist and thumb would fix me up. The injection in my wrist was extremely painful and it felt like there was some resistance-I told him it was very, very painful. When he was done, i did not want the thumb injection, but he said they work together. That one was not as bad, and my thumb became numb. My wrist however felt horrible. I am a wheelchair user, independent, work-out, etc. I had to be wheeled to a room for a therapist to make a thumb-spica splint. Again, I mentioned extreme pain, as the therapist said the lidocaine should have numbed my wrist. I could not leave the building, get into my van or start the engine ..I asked a stranger for help and called the doctor's office from my cell phone and the secretary came down to start my van. I have not driven, wheeled my chair or been independent since. I now have severe atrophy, nerve damage, and cannot use my hand. The doctor has since said he does not know what is wrong with me and cannot help. My 2 follow up visits with him were basically him telling me I was okay. My thumb also locked behind my palm immediately after the injection, if I tried to move it or if it was touched..that did resolve after 2+ months. I had tenderness in my wrist for 6 weeks prior to the injection for a "twist" injury while I was with my physical therapist. Occassionally in the night and early morning, I would feel like my wrist would catch and you could see it click and slightly bulge at the wrist. This never happened in therapy (of course), so my therapist suggested I film it if it happens, which I did. I tried to show it to the surgeon before my injection as I had only tenderness when he examined me, but he would not look at it. His OT insisted he see it on my follow-up visit and he flipped out because it is a video of "true Trigger wrist" no finger involvement-just wrist movement triggering-he asked me to copy my cell pjone video for him. His colleague responded the same saying it has never been filmed before. So, I have had to leave my apartment and am staying with a friend. No one will address my symptoms..I am at a loss.I finally did get an MRI and EMG..progressive nerve damage and pinhole tears in tendon. Does anyone have any ideas? Thank you for reading this.
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Avatar_n_tn
I am sorry I have not checked this forum in a long time.

I want to say that it has been over a year (for some reason I was thinking it was almost 2 until I saw my post up there) anyway, I feel completely 100 percent normal. It feels like it did before the pain started.

I am so sorry to those of you that have not had good results. Here are some of the specifics that my surgeon told me he did that were different than most, he said he releases the tendon further up the forearm than is usual for most of these surgeries and he feels that is very important. I would have to agree.

He also specifically made sure that I started massaging and getting to physical therapy right away which I did. The only thing I didn't do was massage soon enough and I have a small pucker at the incision site but that is so minor compared to the pain.

For those that still have pain after the surgery, I am so sorry to hear that. Get your doctor to follow up with physical therapy and ask them how far did they release your tendon from the sheath that tightens up around it. My surgeon went up into the base of the thumb and part way up my forearm.

Now, I had tenderness and loss of feeling for a while but it did come back. My thumb tingled and felt like it was asleep for a good amount of time, at least 6 months total but it feels completely normal now.

I would advise that anyone that has this to really take it easy as long as you possibly can and do as much with your opposite hand as possible. If you need both wrists done, I would take as much time in between as you can so that you can really baby that post op wrist. The more time you allow to heal and the better you are at massage and physical therapy, the better you will feel in the long run.

Best of luck everyone. If anyone lives in the Central PA region, I would completely recommend my surgeon.

Good luck.
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Avatar_m_tn
I have glanced through most forums, blogs, etc. on de Quervain and may have a few useful aspects to share. I waited to publish anything because I wanted to test everything and give it time to prove success. I have had phenomenal success with mainly some simple exercises and stretches and am functioning pretty much as I had before the onset. I will not label my success as a cure because I know this condition can come and go, but will provide updates if my path changes again. I feel a bit of background is important in case you find other insights or ideas.

I was diagnosed with de Quervain symptoms in both wrists since the summer of 2009 and had some really bad bouts of pain, burning, waking with aches, tingling in the index finger, etc. during 2009 and the summer of 2010. I immediately rand to the orthopedic clinic and was almost forced to consider surgery. I ran! It came on very sudden after a long car trip, in which I tend to extend and push my thumb on the top of the steering wheel. I also tend to push on my thumb and pinkie in locked extended position with the use of a turbo mouse. The pain got so bad I thought I was going to have to give up my work in graphic design. I have tried everything except surgery. I did one Cortizone shot and it abated the pain for about 2-3 months. Hand massage and stretching helped a little. Took some meds, mainly for the inflammation, but was not interested in masking the pain. Did a few ultrasound and infrared sessions, felt cool, but worked like the massage. Chiropractic treatments seem to be doing something, but did not take the pain away completely. Focused heavily on posture, ergonomics at work, changing habits, rest, etc. Had two free deep massage sessions on my neck on shoulders and felt great for a few days. I had full spectrum blood/systemic tests and checked for deficiencies (was a bit low in B-12 and docs asked about my diet which did not include a lot of animal protein). I looked into prolotherapy, PRP injections and acupuncture, but did not commit. Even inquired about neuromodulation, but figured I would never be a good candidate. Tried lots of different types of exercise and usually felt pretty good during a good cardio workout, probably because of good blood flow. Copied a slow hand-weight regimen I saw on YouTube. Tired my own set of isometric weight exercises (5-10 lbs. at the most), didn't help or add to the pain, interestingly. Tired 3 different types of mouse and keyboard set-ups. Bracing, tape, splints, immobilization, etc. was fine until I took off the brace off, I even tested a prototype cast from Exos Medical (I mentioned this company because I spoke briefly with their sports physiologist who told me something important that stuck in the back of my mind and will get to further in). I searched and searched for more information and never found anything useful and most was not very positive. I assume those who have found relief do not share their results for whatever reason, but I am driven to provide some insight since I know the feeling when you don't know where to turn.

In the winter of 2011 I recalled my conversation with the Exos sports physiologist, the chiropractor and the deep massage sessions. I was too focused on just my wrists, fingers and forearm and really had not tried anything in the upper body and neck. I started some simple slow motion neck movements and stretching in the shoulders, neck and arms. I am not saying this is a cure, but I have been almost pain-free, without inflammation, etc. since the early spring 2011. One hypothesis is that the condition, whether de Quervain or not, is being created by a combination of the subluxation that I have in the extremity joints and the involvement of nerves that emanate from the lower cervical (neck) region also as it all ties together with the muscles in the upper body. Whenever I take a shower I do some very simple stretches and movements and focus on my neck, upper shoulders, back, forearm and a bit on the fingers and wrists. If interested, I can try to explain the mechanics in a future post. I did not try any more upper body deep massage, but that may help and certainly can not hurt. The only other things, to which my success, can be attributed would be the additions of a complex B vitamin and more protein. I also do not try to lock my thumb in a stretched position for any long periods. There is nothing else I have changed in my lifestyle, diet, etc. And I'm sure my posture has gone back to its bad habits. The only time I feel a tinge of the pain is when under stress or have forgotten to do my stretching for a couple days or have not exercised. Otherwise the only feeling I have is some stiffness.

I do have a couple strong opinion. First, do not jump to surgery, you are your own advocate for your health and you owe it to yourself to consider all the options and test a few things. Even if you have gone through surgery and have not had complete success you can still try other options. Surgery may work and may be the end option, but found only a handful of physicians who would consider other treatments or would offer up information of success stories. Second, rest is not the answer in my case, the only time I got relief was when I was aggressively using my hand, thumb, the muscles, etc. The sports physiologist said he had seen many cases of de Quervain and nobody ever did more damage when pushing hard during exercise or doing tasks that involved grasping, pushing, etc.. A lot of his athletes would, as he put it: "stretch the hell out of those muscles and work your back and upper body as hard as you can."

I hope this provides some hope and ideas to try. I would be happy to provide more detail and would love to hear more thoughts.
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Avatar_f_tn
Hi
I had the operation for De Quervain's almost five years ago.  As I worked in a Control room I had been using a touch screen (right hand only) for ten years and have been a touch typist since I was 16 (I am now 35).  
About two to three years before the operation I began experiencing sharp pains in my right wrist whilst trying to grip objects.  This worsened and my thumb began to lock into place, usually whilst I was asleep.  The pain was awful and would wake me up.  
I was referred to a hand specialist after visiting my GP and after the consultant had also asked for a second opinion I was diagnosed with De Quervain's, and was given a steroid injection.
After the first injection hadn't worked and the pain became worse my consultant decided on surgery.
I had the surgery on the NHS and unsurprisingly the consultant who has his own private practise was called away.  This meant I another surgeon carried out the operation, under too little anaesthetic.
After the operation I was sent home with a bandaged wrist and instructions not to move the wrist or get the bandage wet for a week.  I was also given an appointment to see a physiotherapist after two weeks.
I attended the physiotherapist appointment and was asked what exercise I had been doing.  To which I replied "None, I wasn't given any".  I was given a number of exercises and told the scar tissue had already begun to heal over the tendon.  I was not amused!
After being off work for three months and thankfully being in the Fire Service I was sent for two periods of two weeks at the Fire Service Therapy Centre, for physiotherapy and management of the problem.
Whilst there I was given intensive exercise and ultra sound over the tendon and scar tissue.  All of this helped, but unless you keep the ultra sound and exercises up it begins to seize up again.
Five years on and I am in agony with it.  The swelling is now on the right side of my wrist as well as the left and I have lost full movement in my wrist.  If I had the choice again I don't think I would have the operation as it now looks as if I'll be needing another.  I would of sort alternatives, if I had received the proper advice.
I also have a friend, who knows someone that has had an operation for De Quervain's four times.
Please do your research and make sure surgery is the best way forward.  Also make sure they give you the correct exercises straight away.
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Avatar_m_tn
had quevain's surgery three weeks ago (10/26/11).  stitches taken out 5 days ago.  i had absolutely no discomfort until today.  i am in a brace and will start massage in a couple of days.  i have a bandage over the incision and the brace over that.  i have had a little bleeding.  is that unusual?  how do i do massage if the incision hasn't closed completely?  my thumb is aching now... is that unusual three weeks post surgery?  I've had no signs of swelling or signs of infection other the moderate thumb pain.
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Avatar_m_tn
had quevain's surgery three weeks ago (10/26/11).  stitches taken out 5 days ago.  i had absolutely no discomfort until today.  i am in a brace and will start massage in a couple of days.  i have a bandage over the incision and the brace over that.  i have had a little bleeding.  is that unusual?  how do i do massage if the incision hasn't closed completely?  my thumb is aching now... is that unusual three weeks post surgery?  I've had no signs of swelling or signs of infection other the moderate thumb pain.
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Avatar_m_tn
Hi everyone,
I had the surgery two weeks ago, and my bandages came off one week ago. Ever since the surgery I haven't had feeling in a circle covering the first knuckles of my thumb and forefinger. Can anyone tell me if they experienced this too? I'm just worried they got the nurse and my next appointment isn't for another 3 weeks.
Thanks!
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Avatar_m_tn
Can you explain to me the stretches and exercises you do to release the neck and shoulder tension that may be causing the wrist pain? I have DeQuervain's in both wrists but I am a graphic designer (ie I need to be able to use the computer all the time) and I like to do fairly strenuous work-outs (like P90X or something with resistance bands) but I'm in a lot of wrist pain and they've been getting much worse in the last few months. My doctor says the next step is surgery (cortizone shots helped for a while) but I really don't care to take the surgery step if I don't have to. Any pointers to relieve the pain without surgery would be appreciated! Thanks!
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Avatar_m_tn
Hello prplmeanie,

As you may have read from my previous post, I also work in design and am not sure de Quervain is related or caused by overuse, but I sure know the pain is causes, regardless. I have posted my regime on a musician's forum and have learned a few things from that time forward. Here's the link, scroll down, listed under neckandshoulders: http://forums.musicplayer.com/ubbthreads.php/topics/2375081/1 Do note I am no expert and one does need to be extra careful, especially when it involves the neck, but I have kept with this routine of stretch & hold techniques combined from other therapies, non-physician sites, PT visits, etc. with a few small adjustments and some proper movements learned from Alexander Techniques added. Interesting, as you mention strenuous workouts, when I had the worst of the symptoms that's when I did find a bit of relief (probably getting good blood flow) and I did try a low hand-weight regime (seen on YouTube), which neither helped, but did not make it worse either. Some "as of late" notes: I have read more that dQ may truly be a form of tendonitis, which would not respond to bracing, immobilization, Cortisone shots (only abates pain/inflammation for awhile) and certainly not surgery. There was also a video segment where one immerses the hand, wrist and upper arm in water as cold as you can stand it and then immersing into hot water, may help relieve inflammation, but still probably won't get at the core of the problem. Also heard possible low vitamin D, but there is always stuff out there about deficiency causes. Still believe, in general and in my case, it's about interconnection, learning how to change movement pattens to correspond with your physiology, focus on arm, shoulder, back and neck, treat as tendonitis, getting good blood flow to the very narrow wrist region, look at posture, ergonomics and not letting the symptoms get too intense. Hope you avoid surgery, I hear many cases where the pain comes back and with additional complications. Can try to chat with you offline, if interested, not sure how this forum works. Will keep checking back.
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Avatar_f_tn
Hi everyone, I'm having the surgery for right De quervains in a month, still hesitating if I should get it. I'm almost in no pain (0-1 in the scale they use), my problem is that I still cannot fully move my hand, let's say I'm at a 95%... When I try to do the plank it feels weird in my wrist, like I'm pulling the tendon and it doesn't / can't go all the way..., my thumb constantly makes a funny noise when I bend it, but that's all I can complain right now
I'm worried, should I get the surgery? Is it possible the condition would go away on its own?
Thanks
~ Liz
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Avatar_m_tn
Hello Liz, curious to know if you went ahead with the surgery? As stated in my previous posts, I would not jump to surgery until you have tried everything, done your research, confer with others, try some techniques, etc. There are so many factors to consider and I still believe this is not solely a wrist condition and more about interconnection from the fingers all the way up to the shoulders, back and neck region. Plus, in my case, it was not about immobilization, but strengthening and working muscles, tendons, etc. I just posted my stretch & hold regime for the wrists, arm, shoulders, back and neck on another site and will try to detail it out here. I continue to be pretty much pain and symptom-free since the beginning of this year. I only feel of twinge of stiffness and slight aching when its been more than three days without doing the stretch & hold techniques. However, I understand this may be a condition that can flare up at any point and certainly could be related to some other factors. I don't think one should think it will go away on its own.

A few of these stretch & hold techniques I picked up from the physical therapy sessions, which focused more on the fingers, wrist and forearms. Others are from sites for alleviating neck and back pain. Still others are from my own exercise stretching routine. Of course, I'm not a sports physiologist or physical therapist and I only play a doctor on TV, so there may be better methods or other regimes to better focus on the pain you are experiencing. All I know is something is working without any bracing, shots, meds, surgery, etc. I found that I had to really focus on the slight movements of the stretching and work it slowly in the early stages when I was still having inflammation, aching, clicking, sharp and dull pain. This is the order, in which I conduct the stretches and all are done standing up with good posture:

Neck rotation and hold (note: be very careful and slow doing any neck movements, it's really more of moving the neck into about the main positions and holding, not continual rotation.)

- Rotate neck into 8 main positions and hold each for 10-15 seconds.
- Sometimes I just hold to the 4 main positions (down, right side, back, left side)
- If I hit a tight spot I sometimes rotate back and forth a bit and then move on
- I also include a set where I use my hand(s) to push on the angle for the 4 main positions

Shoulder flex and shrugs:

- Move shoulders up and down
- Move shoulders forward as if you are pushing out your chest
- Move shoulder back as if you are trying to touch your two shoulder blades together
- I do this both with my arms out-stretched and folded up or bent at the elbow
- Not really a stretch, but should loosen up shoulders, arms, etc.

Arms out-stretched

- This one is a bit hard to explain and a subset of the Shoulder flex, but the only way to describe is to think of the Iron Man position when in flight
- Standing with head tilted up, arms flexed behind you and pushing chest out
- Also try to flex all fingers in the held position
- Should feel stretch in large muscles in the upper back

Arms folded behind head

- Make a fist and bend arm at elbow as far as you can go
- Pull up toward your head
- Use other arm to move held position behind your head
- Hold for 5-10 seconds
- Should feel stretch in neck and upper arm and under arm pit

Arms and hand outstretched in front

- For each hand pull or bend back hand so fingers are pointed upward (use other had to hold position)
- Out stretch both arms while holding this complete position for 5-10 seconds for each hand
- Should feel stretch in forearm, wrist area and some in the shoulder area

Thumb pull-back

- Another hard one to explain, but would be easy to show in a picture
- Put hand in front of you so you are looking at your palm
- Fingers out stretched and together and thumb pointing up
- Take other hand and grab thumb from the top
- Pull position forward to palm is facing up and hold for 5-10 seconds
- Probably important not to over stretch and hold too long
- Should feel stretch in wrist/forearm and thumb, should feel like a combo stretch
- I did my research and there are not many exercises/stretches that focus out these parts

Misc. and regular exercise stretches

- Do these if I have extra time or at random points during the day
- Touching hands to toes while alternating the wrist positions
- Turning torso left and right, looking over shoulder, hold for 5 seconds
- Interlock fingers and stretch with palms facing forward and arms out stretched
- Hold hands behind back and shrug shoulders
- Push against wall like you are stretching your ham strings, arms locked
- Other typical stretching exercises done during running
- Also focus on good posture, head up, chest out

I will keep checking back and hope you find some success. Again, I'm no expert and would like to hear feedback, other ideas, missing information, better techniques, etc. This is great dialogue and am curious to know what has worked from others. I am still amazed at how the body can heal itself and how much our physiology can take, however, one must listen to their own body, do their research, follow proper and proven methods and test very carefully. There is so much interconnection and factors that need to be considered before jumping into any therapy or technique. Good luck.
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   I'll sum this up quickly because I have a story similar to most. In March 2012 I started feeling a sharp pain shooting from my left thumb up my forearm when I tried to do simple things.. lift something, pull something, or press on anything..pull up my jeans, button my shirt, or even lift my coffee mug, for example..ouch!
    I went to my family physician in March, she gave me anti-inflammatory meds...said it was tendonitis. After 2 months of the pain getting worse and limitation growing more, My family physician sent me to a hand/wrist specialist. He diagnosed deQuervain's and gave me a steroid cortisone injection, a spike splint/ brace to anchor my thumb and wrist and told me to come back if it didn't improve and surgery would be the next step. I went back after 6 weeks when the injection wore off and the pain returned furiously. 
    I had surgery and all went well.. I was sent home in a tightly wrapped softwrap and told to not get it wet or soiled. I was to use cold packs on the wrist for 3-4 days and given a sling to elevate my hand above my heart. I was to come back in 2 weeks for my 1st post-op appt. and to get my sutures out. 
   I didn't remove the soft wrap at all in the 2 weeks that followed. I did ice packs for 2 days and kept my arm elevated in the sling. It was a liitle painful, but more of a queasy sharp pain at times, not unbearable constant pain. It felt swollen and sensitive under the wrap, sometimes warm, sore, and throbbing..After a week or ten days, that did improve. 
   When I went to get my sutures out, I was told by my doctor that it looked good, to start using it, and I could do what I wanted..no restrictions..I was kind of stunned...no mention of taking ant-iinflammatory meds anymore, he said I didn't need the sling anymore, and there was no mention of massage or physical therapy.. Just here you go..here is your naked arm..I'll see you in 4 weeks. It was odd. I should have asked more questions, but as I said, I was really stunned.
   It's been 19 days since surgery and 5 days since I had my stitches out. I'm scheduled to go back for another check-up in 3 weeks. Right now my arm is naked, no wraps, bandages, or sling. My wrist, and especially my thumb, is still sore, tender and weak. I still can't lift any weight and am limited just like I was before the surgery..I can't pull up my jeans or button shirts without pain..Heaven forbid, I try to open a jar or sew or sweep... All things that require two hands...Ouch! 
   I don't know if starting back the ant-iinflammatory meds,or requesting physical therapy or massage will help, but I feel like precious time is passing, and I need to be proactive about this. I don't feel safe waiting 3 1/2 weeks to see the doctor if there is something I should really be doing Right now to help this surgery heal properly and truly work.. 
   Any helpful advice, experiences, or guidance will be soooo appreciated.. What should I do? Is this normal for recovery, or am I not giving it enough time? Should i be doing more? Thanks so much!!
Mimi4
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I had the DeQuervain's release surgery on Nov 14, 2012.  My doctor released me 2 weeks later without restrictions and did not give me any exercises.  I still have SOME pain, but nothing like before the surgery.  Does anyone have know of any exercises I can do?  I am going to call my doctor too for exercises.
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I have just been diagnosed today am in so much pain should I go to ER have tried brace and pain meds. Pain is nauseating and swollen for last 3mnths
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I know it's been awhile since you posted this, but I'm hoping you can clarify the thumb pull back.  

Do you mean that the arm should be straight out in front of you, or bent at the elbow?
When you say "thumb pointing up, do you mean that the thumb should be sticking up straight while the hand is flat, perpendicular?

And lastly, I can't figure out what you mean by,
"Pull position forward to palm is facing up and hold for 5-10 seconds."

I'm also curious how your condition has been in the last few months.  I've had lots of physio and massage plus two injections, and I'm getting desperate.  Thanks!
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Hello lolatengo,

For the thumb pull-back I'll try to explain it better. Let me know if there's a way to post or send a pic that would show exactly the mechanics of this stretch & hold technique. I picked from a PT session and haven't seen it posted online.

For the right hand:
- Put right hand in front of you so you are looking at you palm
- Fingers out stretched and together
- Thumb pointing out (not touching the index finger), hand should make a mitten shape, flat
- Arm position doesn't really matter, but elbows are bent to make it possible to do the stretch
- Grab your right thumb with your left hand (thumb down position for the left hand)
- Pull your right thumb away from you like you are trying to rotate your wrist in clockwise direction or away from you
- Idea is to feel the stretch in the wrist to the base of your palm down from the thumb
- Then switch the setup if you're experiencing the same pain, inflammation, stiffness, etc. in your left hand/wrist
- Also, the Finkelstein test (the most common test for diagnosing dQ) can also stretch out the affected area and doesn't seem to make it worse, I've heard, it stretches the area differently than the thumb pull-back technique.

Here's a couple sites with some other possible exercises / techniques that may achieve the same goal:

http://www.toc.md/exercises_wristhand.htm

http://www.summitmedicalgroup.com/library/adult_health/sma_de_quervains_exercises
(this site includes more motion-orientated exercises, which I didn't find helpful, but does include some diagrams similar to the techniques I've listed)

I'm still pretty much pain-free and only do my regime every few days. Interestingly, I only get a twinge of dQ when not exercising or using my hands, wrists, arms, shoulders, etc. more vigorously. I still believe this condition is more about the connections from the hand all the way up to the shoulders and back. Again, be careful with the stretch & hold techniques for the neck area. And do remember to focus heavily on the upper arms, shoulders and back. When I had the crippling pain it was natural to start with the techniques that didn't focus on the hand, thumb and wrist.
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I have De Quervains Tenosynovitis in my left thumb. I am wondering if i should just go ahead with surgery to get it fixed before i leave on my mission? I report to the MTC on September 4th. will i have enough time to recover from it? i have done everything the doctors have told me to do and nothing is helping anymore.  
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How severe is your case of dQ? Have you tried any stretch & hold techniques from the wrist, arm, shoulder, upper back, neck? As you may have read, I tried everything except surgery and everything else only abated the pain, stiffness, tingling, etc. Again, I tried bracing, PT, meds, Cortisone shots, massage, etc. and did everything recommended by ortho docs, PTs, etc. and didn't find relief until I spoke with a sports physiologist who said you need to keep the anatomy active and focus on more than just the thumb and wrist area.  I would still do your research before considering surgery and would not base a decision on timeframe, by which you would need to recover. I do hear of stories where surgery only provides temporary and incomplete resolution and has the potential to cause damage to the anatomy.
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Can you tell me who was your doctor and where you got your surgery done.
Please reply at :  ***@****

I also have de quervain in my left hand and have been advised surgery, but I am afraid to have it done.  I wonder how much time it will take to recover.
I am eagerly waiting for your reply.

Thanks and regards,
Pushpa
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Hello. Being a newbie to dequaveins only 4 weeks ago, I was pretty desparate for a cure.  But, all I heard were horror stories of how long it lasts. I heard the doctor mention surgery for me.  

So, I read your blog on a couple of sites like this and started to do your stretches on the neck and shoulders a few days ago.  Today is the first day I woke up without a lot of inflammation.  It's too early to tell. so I'll come back with updates. An early thanks to you.
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Good to hear. It's all about interconnections! It's interesting, when I had a CT scan it only showed a very small amount of inflammation, but it's amazing how much pain that can cause, if that's the root of dQ. I've only made minor adjustments to the regimen and still the main focus is stretch & hold techniques from thumb, wrist, arms, shoulders, back and neck. Also keeping the anatomy active seems to be really important. One note for others who may be reading this thread, when I was experiencing severe pain, numbness, aching, tingling, etc. I didn't immediately start with stretch & hold techniques and aggressively using my hands/wrist — they were added gradually and I tested it carefully and, all the while, being careful with the neck region. I'd still like to hear other ideas, input, experiences, etc.
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HI, stumbled upon this blog as i was looking for some answers to post op pain from dQ. I had mine in march 2013. No issues, but today different story. I keystroke anywhere from 175,000 to 225,000 times a day. Left was where the surgery was, now it feels sore again.I do exercises and stop the typing, but i feel its creeping back in. This was a work comp case, and I was released from the Dr. not sure If I can get a recheck or not? Idea's?
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Hello. If I'm understanding your questions correctly I don't have any background related to post op pain since I've never had the surgery and would ask if you can get it rechecked. I also don't have any background in work comp cases. However, as far as managing dQ without surgery, Cortisone shots or meds I do have some insights that may help. If you read through my posts it's all about stretch & hold techniques for the wrist, arms, shoulders, neck and back. And, in my case, immobilization didn't work along with all the other recommendations from PT, ortho physicians, etc. I'm still pain-free with only a slight onset of symptoms if I stop the regimen for a few days. Hope that helps.
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I read thru most of the comments, but I just want to get replies from folks who had the surgery for DQ and had a good result. Actually I'd like to know both, as I'm trying to decide whether I should have the surgery or deal with the pain. So far, I've had one cortisone injection. Before the injection, the pain was a 10, but I stopped using my ergonomical computer mouse(how ironic) and with the injection, the pain was gone but came back about 3 months later. The pain is not as bad, but its there and about a 7 now, and I think it may get worse. My doctor doesn't suggest getting more than 2 cortisone injections. If' you had a good result or bad,with the surgery, please reply and tell me. I'd really appreciate it. Thanks
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Hi Neck
I really appreciate your careful and thorough explanations of excercises and stretches to  relieve pain caused by De Quervains Tendonitis.
I am really hoping this can help as I have been dealing with pretty debilitating pain in both thumbs and wrists of and on for over a year. I've had splints, cortisone shots, hand therapy... and finally made a second appt to have surgery ( I chickened out last time).
I made an appointment with the PA at the hand surgeons office in Berkeley, Ca for tomorrow to talk about finally getting the surgury as I have been putting it off in hopes that someone will come up with a non surgical solution.
Along those lines I had a neck problem that I went to physical therapy for about a year ago. Amazingly after two sessions he cured me using a technique called ARC (active release).
So I am thinking I might go back to this PT as was amazing and in the past I have been able to cure most of my aches and pains on my own without therapy or  surgury...Sometimes laying off tennis and swimming instead or trying to build up muscles around the knee when I have pain there by doing excercises and stationary upright bike worked really well for knee problems..
I'll check out the websites you recommended.. I noticed one of them said Sutterhealth...which I am familiar with.. Do you live in the Bay Area?
I was wondering if you lived around here if you could start an excercise group for dequervains suffer or maybe do a video of the excercises you are recommending!
Thanks a lot for all your good advice on this forum.
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Hi,
I really appreciate your careful and thorough explanations of excercises and stretches to  relieve pain caused by De Quervains Tendonitis.
I am really hoping this can help as I have been dealing with pretty debilitating pain in both thumbs and wrists of and on for over a year. I've had splints, cortisone shots, hand therapy... and finally made a second appt to have surgery ( I chickened out last time).
I made an appointment with the PA at the hand surgeons office in Berkeley, Ca for tomorrow to talk about finally getting the surgury as I have been putting it off in hopes that someone will come up with a non surgical solution.
Along those lines I had a neck problem that I went to physical therapy for about a year ago. Amazingly after two sessions he cured me using a technique called ARC (active release).
So I am thinking I might go back to this PT as was amazing and in the past I have been able to cure most of my aches and pains on my own without therapy or  surgury...Sometimes laying off tennis and swimming instead or trying to build up muscles around the knee when I have pain there by doing excercises and stationary upright bike worked really well for knee problems..
I'll check out the websites you recommended.. I noticed one of them said Sutterhealth...which I am familiar with.. Do you live in the Bay Area?
I was wondering if you lived around here if you could start an excercise group for dequervains suffer or maybe do a video of the excercises you are recommending!
Thanks a lot for all your good advice on this forum.
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Thank you for your positive feedback and extra ideas. I do want to look into the ARC technique, but am curious what was going on with your neck and do you think it's connected to your wrist issues? Also curious to know if you went through with the surgery? Do note: I went through a series of PT sessions and it felt great for a short period, but didn't really help with the dQ symptoms, however it was only concentrated on my hands, wrists and forearms. I don't live in the Bay Area (but wish I did after THIS winter), but great idea to start a dQ exercise group. I'll ponder making a video of my regimen, but I'm no expert and would really like to learn the causes of dQ and the physiology of what's going on, is it really just a form of tendinitis. I live in the Upper Midwest and just finished a 35K X/C ski race with weeks of pretty intense training and never had any dQ flare-up. I continue to do the stretch & hold techniques and keep the anatomy active.
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i had my surgery last April 16 and it's 1 month now and i have pain and swollen..my doctor told that it is normal :-(..im so worried..can anyone help us please..thank you
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I want to know the same thing.  Had surgery about same time you did and still in pain.  Does it get better?
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I want to know the same thing.  Had surgery about same time you did and still in pain.  Does it get better?
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it's worse now,i've been to the doctor today and he told me that it will be ok after 2 months...i have to put some i have to put an ice packs everyday.Is your surgery swollen too?
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Hi my name is Susan and I had surgery for De Quervains on my left wrist on May 28.  I had to remove the bandage because it got wet so I put a wide bandaid and then I put gauze and replaced my splint.  I have no sensation on the top of my hand near the index and middle fingers, is this normal?  will I get sensation back?  Did I do damage to my hand by removing my splint?  I am worried that I won't regain sensation, It has been only 5 days since the operation.  Also during the night I rolled over and hit my left hand on my nightstand which sent excruciating pain up my arm.
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I had surgery on my right wristin Feb 2014 and am still having pain and have scar sensitivity.  My surgeon told me that he has done all he can do for me and that "pain is subjective" and basically released me after discharging me from PT because he thought that might be causing my pain 2 1/2 months post op.  Needless to say I switched doctors and was told I needed to wait a few more months to see if the swelling and pain subside from surgery which annoyed me, I don't want to live in pain and need to use my hands to work!   My 2nd option was to go to a pain specialist and my 3rd option was to have another surgery which might or might not correct the issues I am still having.  Since I am not a big fan of having another surgery right now since I am still in pain from the 1st one I opted to go see the pain specialist.  While there she diagnosed me with issues with my nerves due to the surgery.  I am now on a medication (Lyrica) which seems to be working but has a side effect of weight gain which I do not need!   I just want to feel right again,  I have been struggling with this pain for a year now and did all of the conservative measures before opting for surgery.  Surgery was suppossed to fix this!  Oh, I forgot to mention that I previously had this same surgery on my left wrist in 2000 and didn't have any any of these issues!!
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Who was your doctor and in what town and state is he located
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I had the surgery in Feb 2014 and am still suffering w pain, sensitivity, restricted movement and tingling from tip of thumb to almost my elbow. I'm certainly better but not healed. I still cannot do a lot of things. I switched drs bc my dr (and surgeon) said I was fine. I'm not fine!!! Now today I got yet another cortisone shot. The first since my surgery. I'm scheduled for a Cat-scan as well. I'm seriously iced it!! I cannot do the activities I used to do. I've gained 15 lbs!!!
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