What is Mommy’s Wrist?

Emily Walters, PA for Dr. Fugarino
De Quervain’s Stenosing Tenosynovitis is a condition characterized by thumb-sided wrist pain. It is a common problem among caregivers of young children which is why it has been nicknamed “mommy’s wrist”. Pain is the most pronounced symptom and is usually noted with activities requiring sideways motion of the wrist while gripping with the thumb, such as lifting a small child. Other activities that may contribute to pain include scrolling on your cellphone with your thumb, hammering, skiing, opening jars or turning doorknobs. Some may experience swelling and even a snapping or popping sensation with movement of the thumb. Symptoms of de Quervain’s may occur gradually or suddenly and may radiate into the thumb.

The condition is essentially tendonitis or an inflammatory process of the tendons on the back of the wrist that are responsible for spreading and extending the thumb away from the rest of the hand. The cause of the inflammation is not entirely known. It is more common in women, especially pregnant women and mothers with young children but can occur in anyone.

Diagnosis is simple and can be done in an office setting with a good history and physical exam. X-rays may be helpful to rule out other conditions of thumb and wrist pain.

Treatment starts with conservative measures and may include:
o Rest– avoiding repetitive thumb motion or forceful gripping
o Anti-inflammatory medications – both topically and orally (please consult with your physician prior to taking these medications)
o Bracing – wearing a splint that immobilizes the thumb and wrist especially during activities that cause symptoms
o Corticosteroid injections – helps to reduce inflammation and may resolve symptoms entirely

If conservative treatment measures are not successful, surgery can be an option and is usually done on an outpatient basis with little down time.

Mommy’s Wrist can be very painful and debilitating. If you are experiencing pain on the thumb side of the wrist you may be suffering from this condition. Let us take this extra stress off your plate moms, we know you need it:)

Dr. Bryce Fugarino is a fellowship-trained orthopedic hand surgeon at Louisiana Orthopaedic Specialists in Lafayette with extensive training in the treatment of de Quervain’s tenosynovitis. Give his office a call today at 337-235-8007 to schedule an appointment.

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