Raleigh Hand to Shoulder Center in Raleigh, NC

What is Mommy’s Thumb?

What is Mommy’s Thumb? This is another term for DeQuervain’s tendonitis or Mommy’s Wrist. This is a common condition involving the tendons on the thumb-side of the wrist. The syndrome is named after Fritz de Quervain, a Swiss physician who described the condition in the late 1800s. Symptoms arise when there is entrapment of the tendons of the thumb by their surrounding sheath at the wrist. Instead of gliding smoothly through the sheath, the tendons can meet resistance and cause friction. Over time, these tendons may become irritated and painful. Certain movements of the thumb and wrist can be excruciating. Some patients notice decreased thumb range of motion. Patients may feel a tender bump or notice swelling in the wrist where the tendons and/or sheath are thickened. Lifting objects, gripping, or pinching with the thumb often exacerbates symptoms.

The cause of DeQuervain’s is usually unknown, but symptoms can be aggravated by starting a new, repetitive activity. The condition is common in young females, especially pregnant and post-partum women. Lifting a young child can be very painful making it hard to care for the newborn. This is why it is often called mommy’s thumb.

Treatments for mommy’s thumb include thumb spica splinting, over the counter anti-inflammatory medications, topical medications, hand therapy, and cortisone injections. For most patients, these treatments will clear up the condition. In some cases, surgery is necessary to relieve the symptoms. Surgery is performed as an outpatient and most patients report excellent results. See the image below, which shows the tendons involved in DeQuervain’s tendonitis.

Mommys Thumb
DeQuervains Tendonitis

Raleigh Hand to Shoulder Center doctors are all members of the American Society for Surgery of the Hand and are experts in DeQuervains Tendonitis. Hand specialists can help diagnose and treat hand and wrist conditions and can help explain the answer to the question, What is Mommy’s Thumb?

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