Many new parents suffer from chronic wrist pain caused by the awkward hand positions required to hold and care for an infant. This condition, called de Quervain's syndrome (but known also by many other names – see list below), can cause severe pain that it hinders the simplest of daily tasks, such as bathing, feeding, or changing a newborn baby's diapers.
Many different medical and common names are used to describe de Quervain's syndrome, including:
Medical name variants
Common name variants
De Quervain's syndrome is inflammation of the tendon that runs down the forearm, through the wrist and to the thumb.
This injury is caused by repetitive strain on the tendon due to frequent, awkward positioning of the wrist and/or thumb. It can be brought on by repetition of many everyday activities, including:
The chief symptom is pain in the radial side (thumb side) of the wrist. This pain is usually noticed while forming a fist, grasping objects or turning the wrist, and it may radiate out to the thumb or the forearm.
Other signs and symptoms can include:
Conservative, nonsurgical treatments are tried first. These can include:
If the above measures are not effective after several weeks, gluticorticoid injections may provide pain relief. Rarely, if pain persists after non-operative measures have been tried, wrist surgery may be required.
This article discusses and illustrates de Quervain’s syndrome and other wrist conditions.