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de Quervain's tenosynovitis/"mothers thumb"/"washerwoman's thumb. Steriod injection, operation

(27 Posts)
dogsRule4eva Mon 04-Apr-16 14:47:01

i've read previous posts about this but am looking for more info/advice. This is a condition where you've inflamed the tendons in the base of the thumb joint (or similar) and the advice is to rest it, which is impossible with a baby and virtually no help. I'm thinking of getting my hair cut short as it's curly and a pain to maintain anyway.

I am really struggling with this, my baby is only 3.5 months and i live alone. I do not want the op or injections, if they go wrong who's going to care for my son til he's an adult! i have read that it often goes once you stop needing to use that joint so much when you pick them up, but this is a long way off (and probably only applies to people with more support than me anyway) and i'm very upset at the thought of not being able to enjoy being a parent (i've waited so long for this, been through hell) until my hand is better. Every moment i'm awake i have to concentrate in order not to catch or strain the joint, just a millimetre in the wrong direction and it feels bad. I have read of women having a lot of pain and it getting better, i'm not having that much pain but i'm so scared of permanent damage that i don't want to make it worse so i avoid using it as much as possible, but this means that i have a very restricted life and can barely care for my son (i make sure he's ok though). I'm wondering if it would be safe to do more and bank on it healing once he's older???

I have a nhs physio appt soon and have been icing it 4xday, i've had it for weeks!!! Be good to hear some experiences etc, so upset (but hiding it from baba)

tonsattingforbjudes Mon 04-Apr-16 14:56:45

I had it for over 3 months. I wore a splint, took Naproxen but it didn't shift. Then had one steroid injection and it was gone in a week. HTH

OhGodWhatTheHellNow Mon 04-Apr-16 15:07:28

Same here, had to wear the splint full-time for 3 months, plus exercises and steroid injections, all with a young baby (also thought of as new mother syndrome apparently, all that wringing out nappies...). The splint was a mare, especially changing nappies, bathing bubs etc, I had huge rubber gloves to go over it!
However it worked! I put up with it for nearly six months before seeking help, and it took about a year to go completely. One of the joys of parenthood nobody tells you aboutgrin. Good luck with the physio, mine was a gem.

OhGodWhatTheHellNow Mon 04-Apr-16 15:09:26

I mean to say, get the physio help now, these things don't get really get better on their own. I waited way too long.

ispymincepie Mon 04-Apr-16 15:32:49

Dh had this and struggled to hold dc3 when he was a baby. Splint did nothing but the injection really helped!

AnyFucker Mon 04-Apr-16 15:35:42

Have the steroid injection. The risks are low and the results are very good.

Imnotaslimjim Mon 04-Apr-16 15:38:22

My friend had it. She was a wheelchair user, and it was in the hand that used the power stick so no chance of resting it

She had a splint for 6 months, then the injections. They worked, thankfully. From what I've read, they're fairly successful

Whataboutnodetox Mon 04-Apr-16 15:40:05

I had it during my first pregnancy and for several months afterwards. I was about to have the steroid when it improved alone. I wore splints and had physio and time helped. It is bloody miserable.

MummaV Mon 04-Apr-16 17:11:27

Not exactly the same but I've had tenosynovitis for the past 14 years on and off. Splints and injections have really helped me when it flairs up, as does a course of strong anti inflammatories.

I really recommend the injection. I have avoided the op so far and intend to carry on avoiding it until other treatments no longer work.

ribbityribbit Mon 04-Apr-16 18:18:53

I did the injections and the splint too. You need something that immobilises your thumb properly - the ones they sell at the pharmacy were no good for me. I live in the USA so I could ask the physio to make me one instead (although I did have to pay for it!). Not sure if they would do that on the NHS unless it was really necessary. The injection was great - worked straight away and made all the difference. They also gave me a handout with some ideas for different ways to pick up my son. I would really advise just getting it sorted quickly. I changed the way I picked him up and it never came back.

CrotchetQuaverMinim Mon 04-Apr-16 18:46:31

any chance you could afford to go see someone privately? Hand therapists can make splints and advise on how to deal with it. Not cheap, though sad But they are the experts in hands

anotherBadAvatar Mon 04-Apr-16 18:56:59

I had the injection after putting up with the pain for 3 months. It worked like magic and I was pain free in days with no side effects. Unfortunately it has recurred and having had a chat with a friend of mine who is a hand surgeon, I'm going to have the operation soon.

AnyFucker Mon 04-Apr-16 18:58:22

You won't get anything different by going private.

Imnotaslimjim Mon 04-Apr-16 19:01:33

hand therapists are the same nhs or private. Sometimes even the same dr. Don't know what you expect them to do differently

dogsRule4eva Mon 04-Apr-16 23:42:43

thanks for the replies everyone. Lots to think about for me. I hope you're right about the injections not being risking, in case i need to have one.
Why, why, why wasn't I warned about this? :-(
anyway, thanks again

AnchorDownDeepBreath Mon 04-Apr-16 23:52:06

I had this for 5 months. Steroid injections did nothing for me, they cancelled physio becsuae it hurt too much. They booked me for the op eventually but initially put it off because I'm in my 20s and I live on my own so I have to use my hand.

It did heal on its own. It took ages but it's been fine for a while now and my wrist is quite strong again (not quite as strong as the other side but I don't think it ever will be again).

Amy214 Tue 05-Apr-16 00:00:27

My mum had this. I dont have a clue how i have only just got it now and dd is two. My mum had the splint and injection and she hasnt had any bother since. The injection did hurt and she cried a little but she was fine afterwards.

dogsRule4eva Tue 05-Apr-16 01:50:03

thanks anchor and amy, the more stories i hear the better. I've read teh stuff on teh nhs website but it's always worth finding out more.
thanks again!
Amy how long did it take to heal?

hiccupgirl Tue 05-Apr-16 07:30:42

I had this about 10 years ago. I had a splint which helped a bit but not massively then had a steroid injection which sorted it out straight away. It does still get a bit sore on and off now but nothing like it was.

sixinabed Tue 05-Apr-16 09:52:36

I had this really badly with ds1. Used a splint, and had injection. Unfortunately it did not work for me. It made it worse for a couple of days so that I could not use it at all, had to have a sling, then it went back to the same, so I just carried on using the splint. It did not go until I stopped bf Ds. Doc helpfully told me I'd definitely get it again with subsequent children as its to do with relaxin (hormone).

However I did not get more than the occasional twinge with dts 2+3, and nothing at all with dd4, despite bf all of them.

Doc told me the worst movement for it is thumb out, twisting hand backwards and forwards - exactly the movement you do when you lift babies under their arms. With ds1 I was not aware so did this movement all the time, and played throwing him up in the air/bouncing games with him a lot also using this movement. Also the buggy I had put my hands in the worst possible position.

With subsequent dc I found that it is possible to pic babies up while keeping your wrists straight and your thumbs in, using all your fingers to grip their clothes behind their underarms (iyswim). I think using a buggy that was very easy to steer and with a single handle going all the way across, rather than two handles that always put your wrists in the same stressful position helped to avoid it with dc 2-4.

Sorry my steroid story's not positive like others, although proportion of positive to negative shows it's more likely than not to work.

0christmastree5 Tue 05-Apr-16 10:46:57

Ive had the injection and it helped.
Altering your movements to rest parts of your tendons also really helped. It's difficult at first as many things/movements are automatic, but changing nappies was unbearable until I altered my methods, some movements really hurt. Not sure if that makes sense, I mean rest can be changing the way you do things for a bit, I found.

DeltaSunrise Tue 05-Apr-16 10:49:23

I had this about 6 years ago in my left wrist. One cortisone injection and it's never been a problem again. It worked almost instantly.

I know have it in my right wrist but we're in a different country now where they don't give out the injection so freely.

It's got so bad I am in tears most of the day. I can't brush my hair or teeth without pain, cooking is a definite no no (I have burnt the top of my worktop after dropping a hot wok on it) can't lift a kettle. It's getting dangerous as well as painful. First time doctor gave me 800mg ibruprofen tablets, didn't work, now I've just finished a dose of steroids and and am on diclofenac. He's finally agreed to refer me to a specialist who can do the cortisone injection and I'm counting down the days until the appointment comes through. I can't bare the pain any longer and knowing how well it worked on my left wrist and keeping fingers crossed that it works just as well on the right.

DeltaSunrise Tue 05-Apr-16 10:50:35

Oh and I also have to sleep with my hand/wrist resting on my bedside table so I don't accidentally twist it the wrong way in my sleep and wake myself up sobbing. It doesn't make for comfortable sleeping that's for sure.

Seeyalater Tue 05-Apr-16 11:05:03

I had this for months when baby was small, tried to avoid the movements that triggered it as much as possible and it resolved itself as he got bigger.

JoffreyBaratheon Tue 05-Apr-16 11:36:08

My husband had the injection and it totally got rid of the pain. That was about 2 years ago and just this past couple of months, it's come back. Now he's opted to have the injection one more time then if it recurs, the op.

It gave him complete relief from pain for a couple of years and for some people it works for longer, so I'd be tempted to go for it.

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