De Quervain syndrome (also known as BlackBerry thumb, texting thumb, gamer's thumb, washerwoman's sprain, mother's wrist, or mommy thumb) is a painful inflammation of tendons in the thumb that extend to the wrist and control the movement of the thumb. This may cause pain at the lower end of the thumb and the base of the arm.

Even though the cause is not established, it is often said to be due to overuse, a direct blow to the thumb, repetitive grasping and due to certain inflammatory conditions like Rheumatoid Arthritis. Women tend to be more affected than men.

The symptoms are pain on the radial side of the wrist, spasms, tenderness, occasional burning sensation in the hand and swelling over the thumb side of the wrist. The person may encounter difficulties in using the affected hand to grip objects.

The most common means of diagnosis is an xray (to rule out fractures, Arthritis) and history of the patient.

Physiotherapy plays a very important role in the management of this syndrome. Pain relieving modalities like Ultrasound, Phonopheresis or Cryotherapy can be very helpful in reducing inflammation and pain. A doctor may also suggest anti-inflammatory drugs parallely.

As a last treatment modality if none of the above work then the surgeon would resort to surgery.

For more information on this please call our senior physiotherapists on the KITES helpline at 9980067000 or email us at