Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine

Wrist FAQ


I was at a play group for mothers with infants and young children. Everyone seemed to be complaining about wrist and thumb pain, myself included. What causes this?


You may be experiencing tendinitis or another similar condition called de Quervain's. Pain while making a fist or grasping and holding objects are common with de Quervain’s tendonitis.

Lifting babies and young children puts you at risk for this problem. You are grasping, holding, and putting pressure on the wrist while it's in a downward angle.

These hand and wrist positions and motions cause irritation of the tendons at the base of the thumb. Since you perform these movements many times each day, they become repetitive. The constant tension on the tendons causes inflammation, thickening of the tendons, and swelling around them.

New mothers are especially at risk because it's a new movement and it's often done while the child is moving. Hormone fluctuations (up and down) linked with pregnancy and nursing may also add to the risk of developing this problem. Asif Ilyas, MD, et al. de Quervain Tenosynovitis of the Wrist. In Journal of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. December 2007. Vol. 15. No. 12. Pp. 757-764.

*Disclaimer:* The information contained herein is compiled from a variety of sources. It may not be complete or timely. It does not cover all diseases, physical conditions, ailments or treatments. The information should NOT be used in place of visit with your healthcare provider, nor should you disregard the advice of your health care provider because of any information you read in this topic.
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