Wrist Tenosynovitis and Complications from De Quervain release
About two years ago, I noticed that I was losing strength in my thumb which turned into moderate loss of use.
Over the course of two years, I saw several doctors, had an MRI, bone scan, xrays, nerve conductivity and was finally diagnosed with tenosynovitis.
I was in physio for a year and a half to no avail. When my wrist was manipulated, it put my forearm, elbow, tricep, bicep, neck, shoulder and back out.
If he worked on my upper body, it simply increased the pain in my wrist. I tried anti-inflamatory creams and pills (which I can't stand taking) and then finally had to resort to painkillers just to function.
I have an array of wrist/thumb splints, which never really worked. I finally found a plastic surgeron who agreed to meet with me and he attempted one cortisone injection, which only exacerbated my issues.
Surgery was scheduled and completed on January 29, 2010. I was told it would be approximately 2 week recovery and 4 months later, I'm only able to work 4 hours a day, I haven't been able to return to any of my activities, my symptoms have returned to presurgery status (with the exception of the pain level).
A bit of history....I have an office job where I type and write most of the day, having to flip through very large and heavy files and of course, it is my dominant hand. I am (or should say was) extremely physically active - since childhood - playing baseball, basketball, golf, volleyball, working out, yoga, etc. I was a gymnast in my childhood which may have also helped cause this issue (I am 38).
About 13 years ago, I broke both my elbows and both my wrists. In my left wrist, I broke my scaphoid and had no rehab following. That is where everyone started looking as it made sense that it may have not healed properly. It did.
The best anyone has ever told me is that the trauma from the break, coupled with all my activities, may have set this condition into motion.
Post surgery, my symptoms include radiating and burning pain into my thumb and wrist, bruising, swelling but only at the incision site which has never gone away, elbow pain, shoulder pain, forearm pain and neck pain.
I also can't put full pressure on my hand since the surgery. And my favorite part is that my wrist now looks "dented" and is nothing but skin and bones. I have lost muscle mass in my hand and have lost a great deal of strength on my left side. I did my course of physio and OT following the surgery but they claim they can do nothing more for me.
I will admit I'm not in as much pain as I was prior to the surgery but at the rate of deterioration I'm experiencing again, my guess is that it will be back shortly.
The surgeon is now talking about going back in as scar tissue may be constricting my tendons and/or my nerve. I went to my GP to discuss as the surgeon is a surgeon, and his idea of fix involves cutting.
I don't really want to undergo another surgery to start this process all over again but my GP said one more might help. He wouldn't recommend doing it again if it doesn't work. He has also suggested that I go to pain clinic which I am not in favour of at this point. I don't want to mask the symptoms, I want the the problem fixed and the symptoms gone.
Any thoughts, recommendations or ideas would be greatly appreciated as I don't to go through another 2 years of this. I want my life back!!!
Thanks very much!
That sounds horrible. I'm sorry your doctors have put you through that.
1. "one more might help" is not a good reason to ge a surgery, in my opinion. In fact, from a medical perspective it SHOULD not even be a reason. Hope and surgery don't really go together in this case.
2. I assume that you were in casts for the broken bones? Thus immobilized. Thus, connective tissue in the hand/wrist/arm shortened and shrunkwrapped. This makes structures TOO SHORT, and creates problems down the line.
3. Tendonitis is bad enough. Tenosynovitis, as I like to say, is a 'special' kind of problem. Read that page if you haven't already.
With your stuctures shortened down, every little movement is tugging on the painful areas, irritating them more and constantly.
4. What -exactly- did the surgery do? I imagine that it sliced into the tendon sheath. Of course there is scar tissue, that's what happens after surgery. Surgeons always seem surprised by this for some reason.
Is that scar tissue the problem now? Partly, yes, but it's unlikely that that's the only reason you're still in pain. The factors that caused the problem in the first place never got dealt with, surgery certainly doesn't deal with them.
5. You are stuck in a HUGE Process of Inflammation. Make sure to read that page, if you haven't.
6. From a self care perspective, I suggest that you get my Reversing Wrist Tendonitis ebook. Drop me a note when you do, I'll also send you the Quick Start Guide ebook that comes with my Carpal Tunnel DVD, there's a couple things in there that would be useful for you.
It contains much of what you need, and a plan of attack. You need to deal with the entire arm structure, the inflmmation, some HIGHLY likely nutritional deficiency/insufficiency, and the too tight connective tissue issue.
7. Regardless of the actual structural state right now, neurologically, you're stuck in a defensive, protective response, which ironically maintains and worsens the pain and problem.
8. I agree with you on the 'fix the problem' philosophy. It's going to take some time and work on your part, but in my experience, that's really your only 'good' option.
9. When you get the ebook, drop me a note and keep in touch with me, I'll help guide you through the self care and the getting better process.
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Joshua Tucker, B.A., C.M.T.
The Tendonitis Expert