deQuervain's (wrist) tendonitis

Edited: May 19, 2019, 4:56 AM · Anybody dealt with this and have any great treatment/healing techniques? It started about a week ago, and a few days ago I got a brace that helps when I wear it, and I could even play with it, but it still hurts so I'm thinking I'll give it a week with the brace w/out playing. It so far does not show any improvement but it has only been a few days with the brace so i am frustrated but hopeful. I should add its my left wrist.

Replies (12)

Edited: May 18, 2019, 9:45 PM · I imagine laying with tendinitis is a very bad idea. Let it rest until it heals.

In the meantime, you can think about what aspect of your technique is causing strain for your muscles.

Edited: May 18, 2019, 10:58 PM · Im so sorry :(

It will takes weeks to heal and you cannot play while it heals. And it may come again too. If you play while it is healing you will just prolong the whole thing.

Edited: May 19, 2019, 8:34 AM · Karen, I have not dealt with this problem, but did have issues with tendons in the past.
One of the most important factors in healing is to identify the offending activity and stop it immediately. This is also known as "BlackBerry thumb", so if you use mobile phone, use it as a phone only.

Although anti-inflamatory medications are prescribed most of the time, from my experience, and some findings, they do more harm in the long term (after 7 days) that they help. Not feeling the pain while continuing with offending activity is a certain path to re-injury and prolonged recovery. Pain is your guide in recovery.

What you do need it a very experienced sports-medicine doctor to confirm diagnosis and then even more experienced physiotherapist to guide you in recovery process. From my experience, tendons are the weakest spot, but the problem often lays elsewhere, so it is essential to have a custom-designed recovery path, with proper exercises done at certain point in time.

Talk to your doctor about the brace; mine did not recommend wearing it for a long time. You need to keep using your muscles.

Also, tendons tend to take a long time to recover, especially if you are not young anymore.
Last but not the least, you did not mention if this is left or right hand. In any case, you would need to re-visit the ergonomics of your violin, and also bow hold (in case of right hand), or hand (thumb) position (left hand).

Edited: May 19, 2019, 9:32 AM · Oh dear. This all sounds as distressing as it sounds wise. It is my left hand. Of course i can't be sure it comes from playing violin but i had been playing more than usual the past few weeks, and working more on higher positions, which for me is more wrist intense - maybe that's where I need particular guidance. Thank you!
May 19, 2019, 9:50 AM · Tendinitis takes weeks to heal. Sometimes months. And sometimes it's a recurring problem.

Unless it was brought on by a one-item activity -- i.e. it's an acute, isolated bout -- you need to stop whatever you were doing that aggravated it. Stop completely if possible. If your violin-playing is inducing tendinitis, you must fix whatever technical issue is causing it, but I'd wait until the pain has resolved itself.

Edited: May 19, 2019, 11:04 AM · We don't know the severity of your injuries, and I am no doctor either, but for me when I develop tendonitis I always start to squeeze a stress ball (actually a ball made with red wax cheese wrappings as this provides more finger movement than the usual squeeze ball I find.) throughout the day and find that it helps speeding up my recovery. I also do some stretching exercises and rest. Never had to wear a brace, but for more severe tendonitis this may be necessary at first and as Rocky said not to over indulge. As for any homegrown remedy, discuss with your health specialist and take it slow at first, but we're all different. One thing for sure recovery takes weeks, sometimes months.
May 19, 2019, 5:30 PM · Thanks for these thoughtful knowledgable responses. I really appreciate it even though i was hoping to hear the opposite. I had chronic tendonitis in one ankle for several years when the weather got cold, would be in a 'boot' for a few weeks, some years PT, then i started running at 55 and haven't had it since although i'm not sure it was the running, maybe weight loss i dunno. But i guess i better slog this out with patience and maybe PT. Can't imagine not playing for however long it takes, but I guess I am lucky I don't make my living at it. I am thinking maybe I can practice some bowing, right hand stuff.
June 17, 2019, 11:46 AM · Here is another non-expert reply!

I read that de Quervain's is initiated in the thumb; do you tend to grip the violin neck? I find that the neck should rest on the thumb, but only against the base of the index. No squeezing.
Maybe wrap the thumb in some soft material to avoid clenching?

You have a lucky Dad!

June 17, 2019, 2:19 PM · I also only know enough to be dangerous (retired med. lab. tech.) There are a few M.D.s on the panel, but they will probably not check in for ethical reasons; they won't give a diagnosis or suggest treatment without a physical exam and testing. So go to your doctor, a sports medicine or music-injury specialist if you have one locally.
Joint and connective tissue injury takes a Very long time to heal. Sometimes even longer than bone fractures, partly because the blood supply to those tissues is very low, and unlike bones, there aren't any specialized healing cells. "Doctor, doctor, it hurts when I do this" Answer; "Don't do that"
Edited: June 18, 2019, 4:21 AM · Karen, like everybody already wrote, you'll have to stop playing for approx half a year, hopefully sooner but only if the pain is completely gone. I've had the same experience but then with my right elbow. Much sympathy. The good news is the tendonitis typically heals by itself just by doing nothing basically, just living healthily and giving those tendons a break. I've had three tendonites so far, I am speaking from experience. Although the last one is now at least four years ago, knock on wood :-)
Edited: June 18, 2019, 9:01 AM · I've had great success with increasing the healing time of tendonitis and other soft tissue problems by seeing someone qualified in ART and similar techniques. The practitioner should be well qualified with lengthy experience - sadly there are those out there who bill themselves as experts and are not. Break from the activity that caused it is still required, but these soft tissue techniques are very helpful. I know from experience on this.
June 18, 2019, 1:15 PM · Feldenkrais helps me every time, and there are some teachers who specialise in violinists, and post advice and examples on YouTube. Regardless, I do hope you are back in action soon!

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