As mentioned above, deQuervain's tenosynovitis is inflammation of two long thumb tendons at the wrist (APL& EPB) as they pass through a synovial sheath. The tendons and the sheath often become inflamed, hence the name "teno" (tendon) "synov" (synovial) "itis" (inflammation). It is common in new mums but we aren't sure why. Perhaps it is caused by the hormone changes or because you hold or lift your baby in certain way.
There are three treatment options: therapy, unltrasound-guided steroid injection or surgical release. Therapy is often the first treatment option for new mums.
Therapy usually involves a splint or brace for 3-4 weeks to support the thumb and wrist which offloads the inflamed tendons.
In my practice I also recommend some specific strengthening exercises for the affected tendons, called isometric exercises, to help heal and strengthen the tendons. These exercises are low repetition, gentle and should be relatively pain-free.
In addition, soft tissue massage or trigger point release via acupressure or dry needling may assist in providing pain relief.
A steroid injection sometimes only provides short term relief as the tendons remain weak. However, if therapy is done at the same time to gently strengthen the tendons then there may be a higher chance of success.
Surgery may be offered but is usually only required in severe cases where therapy or steroid injections have not succeeded.
You can find a therapist in your area with expertise in treating hand conditions on the Australian Hand Therapy Association website www.ahta.com.au
I hope you find some relief to your symptoms soon.