De Quervain ‘s syndrome also known as BlackBerry thumb

De Quervain
De Quervain

We at CLOVERDALE REHABILITATION CLINIC, often see many cases named as De Quervain’s syndrome. It is also known as BlackBerry thumb, texting thumb, gamer’s thumb, washerwoman’s sprain, radial styloid tenosynovitis, De Quervain diseaseDe Quervain’s tenosynovitis, mother’s wrist, or mommy thumb.

Although the exact cause of De Quervain’s tenosynovitis isn’t known, any activity that relies on repetitive hand or wrist movement — such as working in the garden, playing golf or racket sports, or lifting your baby — can make it worse. Other causes of De Quervain’s tenosynovitis include:

  • Direct injury to your wrist or tendon; scar tissue can restrict movement of the tendons
  • Inflammatory arthritis, such as rheumatoid arthritis


Symptoms include:

  • Pain, tenderness and swelling near base of thumb or snuff box
  • Occasionally, burning sensation at around base of thumb
  • Pain or difficulty in grasping or pinching activities using thumb
  • Sometimes it may cause weakness of grip secondary to pain and loss of muscle strength

Women are affected more often than men. The syndrome commonly occurs during and after pregnancy. Contributory factors may include hormonal changes, fluid retention and—more debatably—lifting.

At Cloverdale Rehabilitation Clinic, the physiotherapist would take focused assessment and perform thorough physical examination to diagnose De  Quervain syndrome. In some cases, x-ray may require ruling out any bone fracture around wrist joint, our physiotherapist would let you know if needed any x-ray upon detailed assessment. Following thorough assessment, our Physiotherapist can suggest activities that need to avoided or modified in order to prevent exacerbation of your condition. We also use variety of pain relief electrotherapeutic modalities such as ultrasound therapy, heat treatments, TENS, dry needling in order to reduce pain and inflammation. Our physiotherapist use patient centered approach to provide education and reassurance about your condition and provide you relevant ergonomic and home exercise program.


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