This is my person experience with De Quervain’s Tenosynovitis Tendon Release Surgery. When I found out I had it, I did some research and didn’t find much on personal experience’s so I decided to write my own. I, like a lot of people had not heard of it until it happened to me. Hopefully I can describe my experience in a way that may help someone else going through the same thing.
De Quervain syndrome is inflammation of two tendons that control movement of the thumb and their tendon sheath. This results in pain at the outside of the wrist. Pain is typically increased with gripping or rotating the wrist. The thumb may also be difficult to move smoothly. Onset of symptoms is gradual. This is typically caused by repetitive motion. I’m guess I’m now paying the price for 30 years of being a hairdresser.
I will say that this is a very painful condition. I went to my orthopedic doctor and he diagnosed me very simply by bending my thumb into the palm of my hand. He knew right away what it was when I winced in pain.
He told me most people are cured by getting one cortisone shot right into the area. Well we tried it and it didn’t do anything. I went back to see him and he said surgery would be the only option for me.
We set a date and I could not wait for it. I was in really bad pain. The day finally arrived and I had it done.
Basically, I was given anesthesia and a block and they made a small incision on my wrist and cut the sheath that was tightened around the tendons, releasing the tendons. The Doctor told me there was a lot of fluid that came out which meant I needed the Surgery. Surgery was outpatient and I was there for about three hours. I had stitches inside with two strings poking out of my skin and glue on the outside.
I was sent home with some pain medicine and a bandage and instructions to ice, rest, no lifting more then a water bottle for a couple of weeks, remove bandage after 24 hours and follow up with doctor in two weeks. This was the first day with the bandage.
This was the day after surgery. I was instructed to keep it uncovered, leave the tape and little strings that came from inside the incision. That was a little weird. I could let water run on it and pat dry.
I will not lie, recovery was painful but the meds and ice helped. The first couple of days I rested, a lot. Then I started doing more around the house, I get bored easily. The more I did the more I hurt which brought on more meds, ice and rest.
This was three days after surgery. I was starting to bruise here. Still icing and resting as often as possible. It was about three to five days after that I started having numbness and tingling. I had very uncomfortable tingling when I touch the incision area. I tried to not do that. I had numbness all the way into my thumb. The nurse called to check on me and said that was part of the healing process, as long as my thumb wasn’t turning blue I was ok.
Touching my thumb was something I wasn’t able to do for months without extreme pain. After about five days I noticed I could do this with no pain. Well there was some pain in the incision area but that was understandable. I was excited when I could do this.
This was one week after surgery. The nurse told me the glue would start to come loose on its own. When it would get real loose in areas I would very gently scratch the pieces the rest of the way off. You can still see the string here. The tape peeled off on its own so I put medical tape on it because I didn’t want to to catch on anything.
I’ll be honest, after one week I was still having pain, I just iced, elevated it and rested, that’s about all one can do.
I relied on my husband to help with things that I normally do. It was hard for me, you see I don’t like to ask for help, but I a learned quickly in this case that I really had to limit my activities, especially when it came to lifting.
Day 9…something happened between day 8 and day 9. I woke up feeling much improvement. Still very tender but there was a difference. I really think things started to turn for the better on day 9. The swelling was going down and the incision was a little lumpy but less tender.
Two weeks after surgery I had my post op appointment. I was still having numbness in my thumb and it’s all still very tender. Here I am waiting for the doctor to remove the string.
No strings attached! I was glad to get that string out. It was catching on everything. The doctor said that the swelling would continue to go down and things would flatten out. As far as the numbness, he said the numbness in the area where the incision is, is normal and will go away with time. My thumb on the other hand, we will have to wait and see. It’s possible nerves could have been damaged. Hopefully not.
I still have to take it easy for a few more weeks. No heavy lifting. I will still have some swelling and pain depending on how much I use my hand but ice and rest should help. I plan on updating this post as time goes by, so stay tuned for my progress!