Loving Hands: What You Need to Know About Mommy Wrist (De Quervain’s Tendinitis)

As the old adage goes, a mother’s work is never done. In addition to the inherent workplace risks and hazards of developing occupational repetitive motion injuries like carpal tunnel syndrome, women with children are also at increased risk of developing De Quervain’s Tendinitis, a wrist injury also known as “mommy wrist” or “mommy thumb.”

What is De Quervain’s Tendinitis?

De Quervain’s Tendinitis is a type of repetitive motion injury that can cause pain and stiffness in the wrist and thumb. The tendons responsible for movement and control of the thumbs run through a tunnel (tendon sheath) called the first dorsal compartment. When the first dorsal compartment is injured, it can become thicker or enlarged, causing the pain in the thumb and wrist associated with De Quervains Tendinitis.

What Causes De Quervain’s Tendinitis?

 De Quervain’s Tendinitis?

The direct cause of the condition is not always understood in many cases, however repetitive motion, excessive grasping as is typical with racquet sports, and inflammation related to underlying medical conditions like rheumatoid arthritis can contribute to injuries to the thumb and wrist.

While the condition can affect anyone, women are more prone to developing De Quervain’s Tendinitis than men. During and after pregnancy, women can have an excess of fluid buildup around the tendons, which can make them more susceptible to this type of condition or injury. In addition, physical strains and motion associated with lifting or carrying a baby for extended periods of time can exacerbate the strain.

What are the Signs and Symptoms of Mommy Wrist?

Symptoms and the degree of pain and discomfort will vary from person to person, but some of the most common symptoms of mommy wrist include:

  • Pain while trying to lift small objects, like toys or a coffee mug
  • Wrist pain near the thumb that worsens with twisting or gripping motion
  • Stiffness and pain when moving the thumb
  • Difficulty/pain making a fist
  • Weakened/painful grip

What Can You Do to Protect Yourself and Decrease Risks?

While it is not always possible to avoid the activities – like work and childcare – that can lead to certain repetitive motion injuries, there are some precautions that can help to reduce the risk of strain and injuries to the hands, thumbs, and wrists.

Change It Up – Try to vary hand/wrist positions while performing lifting, grasping, and carrying motions to avoid putting repeated strain on the same areas.

Take a Break – Make sure to rest the hands and arms at regular intervals in between activities.

Ice Ice Baby – Apply an ice pack for five to 15 minutes at the first sign of pain. For persistent pain, Dr. Michael Fitzmaurice, a prominent hand surgeon and orthopedic hand specialist in Phoenix recommends getting a check up to rule out De Quervain’s Tendinitis – or seek treatment if the condition already exists.

Advanced Treatment for De Quervain’s Tendinitis in Phoenix

Dr. Michael Fitzmaurice of the Fitzmaurice Hand Institute in Phoenix is a pioneer in minimally invasive, highly effective treatment for De Quervain’s Tendinitis and other hand injuries. Call (480) 526-5106 today for relief from mommy thumb, or make an appointment online.