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De Quervains Tenosynovitis

(12 Posts)
Germgirl Wed 26-Apr-17 13:34:10

I have DeQuervains in my left wrist. It's been getting worse for about 8 weeks. I bought a couple of wrist / thumb splits and kept working, eventually it was so painful that I paid over £400 last Friday to have a corticosteroid injection into the tendon sheath.
I've had DeQuervains for about 20 years on & off in both wrists but haven't had an attack for about 10 years. I thought it had gone away!
Anyway, I've had injections before which have always worked but this one doesn't seem to. Immediately it was done the pain was gone but that's because a local anaesthetic was injected at the same time. Once that wore off the pain was back. And now it's worse than ever. I can't afford another private injection and they wouldn't do one for a month anyway. I have an NHS orthopaedic appointment at the end of June.
So, is there anything else I can do? I'm now off work, wearing a sling and trying not to use the wrist at all. I'm going on holiday in 10 days and really don't want to be wearing a bloody sling then!
Any tips or advice?

LesserRedpoll Wed 26-Apr-17 21:26:50

I don't have any helpful tips, but I just wanted to say that I had DeQuervains a while ago and had two steroid injections a couple of months apart. The first one worked instantly, but the pain came back quickly as well. I thought the second one had had no effect but over two weeks or so it improved and I now have full movement and no pain. So don't give up hope!

My sympathies as well because it is horribly painful.

highneeds Wed 26-Apr-17 21:39:31

I had this after having a baby, it was awful and very awkward with a newborn. It eventually righted itself but the gp gave me some diclofenac gel to put on it and told me to get others to do as much of the graft as possible, not always possible I know. Have you used any topical pain relief? Do you take oral pain killers too?

HopelesslydevotedtoGu Wed 26-Apr-17 21:46:48

I've had this several times. It's horrible. The key (for me at least) is absolute rest of the wrist. Not working, not muddling along trying to do everything one handed, but properly resting. I tried to carry on working and doing my usual activities and it got much worse.

My OT in the NHS Hand Clinic made me a thermoplastic splint moulded to my wrist which was much more effective than the off the shelf splints. Can you get seen at a hand clinic sooner, or afford private? If you are in London St Thomas see private patients. Wearing the splint at night is useful as you move in your sleep.

I also had ultrasound therapy on the NHS but I don't know how much this helped, and how much was the passage of time.

Germgirl Thu 27-Apr-17 09:09:51

Thanks for the replies, it is indeed incredibly painful. I think I've made it worse by struggling on & continuing to use it. I work in a lab & it's a very dexterous job, lots of twisting and turning my hands and very repetitive. My wrist/thumb was very painful before Easter but I'd volunteered to work over the bank holidays and the weekend and so I kept going in, I wore my splint but every movement was so painful. I finally relented and went off sick last Tuesday, and I'm still off, signed off till next Tuesday. I'm now trying to not use it at all and am wearing a stupid looking sling to try to stop me using it. It's a right pain.
I wear a morphine patch anyway for abdo pain, that hasn't helped my wrist at all so I'm taking naproxen, ibuprofen & codeine and using ibuprofen gel. Nothing is really helping.
I've got an appointment in Physio next Thursday, I'm hoping I'll be offered ultrasound and the thermoplastic splint, I've had both before and they do help.
Can't afford more private treatment sadly, I saw a consultant privately last Friday and found out that he works at the same NHS hospital that I do, he told me to get an NHS referral to him (which I had going through anyway) and to speak to his secretary so that he could see me for follow up.
The injection site from last Friday is very bruised and tender, I can't wear my splint at the moment because it presses on it, I'm hoping that once the bruising goes down, that any internal bruising will also go down and it might start to feel a bit better.
It's frustrating. I'm meant to be on night shifts next week where I'm working alone, don't know what to do about that.
Bloody wrist! Just get better will you!!!

HopelesslydevotedtoGu Thu 27-Apr-17 12:26:11

If you go back to work too early it will get worse again. You need to properly rest it.

What is the reason you are keen to carry on working, is it that you feel guilty about not working? I felt awful sitting at home watching TV, as though I was being lazy. I had some negative comments from colleagues about being off sick with a "sore thumb". I tried to work one handed using my other hand.... And developed de Quervains in the other hand too. Imagine having two hands in splints for several months. It was dreadful, I struggled to get dressed, couldn't use my own door key, couldn't brush my hair, I felt really vulnerable when outside as I couldn't open doors, worried about getting stuck in public toilets, if I dropped something I had to ask a stranger to pick it up for me. But sitting at home for months was mind numbing as apart from my hands I felt OK.

I'd really recommend resting so it doesn't make it worse!

The thermoplastic splints are excellent, I hope they make one for you. Wear it when you are sleeping too.

putputput Thu 27-Apr-17 12:36:48

It's horrible, I had it and steroid injection was the only thing which worked fully.

Make sure your splint completely immobilises the thumb. Topical gel helps ( you can be prescribed stronger than they sell over the counter). I also iced as much as possible, to reduce the inflammation.

Don't take ibuprofen and naproxen together - massive risk of stomach ulcers etc. One or the other and don't exceed the dose.

Germgirl Thu 27-Apr-17 12:38:49

Yeah. I've got it in my other wrist too. Not as bad but it's coming along...
I've been wearing splints on both hands which made my manager do a massive eyeroll as if I'm over-reacting. But it bloody hurts!
I've had loads of time off with suspected endometriosis and feel guilty having time off with a sore thumb. Just like you say smile
I'm going on holiday in 9 days time. I'd kind of hoped to not have to take the splints and sling with me but it looks like I'm going to have to. sad

Germgirl Thu 27-Apr-17 12:40:16

I take omepazole because I have to take painkillers a lot with my abdo pains. I'm a bloody wreck aren't I? They're to protect my stomach from the painkillers.
I'm using ice packs as well. That does help a bit.

CMOTDibbler Thu 27-Apr-17 12:57:15

I've had repeated tendonitis issues in one arm - may be tennis elbow or supinator syndrome which was excruciating and steroid injections, NSAIDs, ultrasound, physio and splints didn't help. Acupuncture does though, and makes a difference from the first session. Am not normally one for alternative therapies, but it really seems to work for this.

Germgirl Thu 27-Apr-17 14:42:27

I might try that if it persists.
When people have had dequervains, did your wrist 'click'? If I rotate my wrist it 'clicks' and 'pulls' inside. I'm assuming this is the tendon sheath 'catching'
There's definitely something else wrong too, the tendon along the top of my arm/wrist (above the middle finger) is very painful too, feels like it's 'catching' when I bend my wrist.
I have no idea why it's all happening at once.

highneeds Thu 27-Apr-17 21:56:32

No mine didn't click, but from the sounds of it mine was milder than yours. Bloody agony though but by the time I got to the hand clinic (many months after the referral following many months of ignoring it) it had improved and I no longer met the criteria for steroid injection. It's really very debilitating, so much more than 'just a sore thumb'.

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