I am writing to you regarding the article, OThe sensible thing to do is prevent the painO (May 1997 issue). I have been a practicing hygienist for more than 30 years and your article hit home. I had carpal tunnel surgery and a ganglion cyst at the base of my middle finger removed last August. I went back to work full time in mid-September. Unfortunately, I have recently been diagnosed with deQuervain?s tendinitis. I think this is another area your article could have included. I am going on disability for two months to try and give my hand complete rest. I have already had one steroid injection, which helped for about three months, and I wear a splint at night.
Like carpal tunnel, deQuervain?s tendinitis is a condition brought on by irritation or swelling of the tendons, but along the thumb side of the wrist. The swelling can cause pain and tenderness usually noticed when forming a fist, grasping or gripping things, or turning or twisting the wrist.
The treatment for this is varied. Some recommendations are:
- Resting the thumb and wrist by wearing a splint.
- Anti-inflammatory medication taken orally or injected into that tendon compartment to help reduce the swelling and relieve the pain.
- Stopping the activities that cause the pain and swelling.
- Surgery to open the compartment that covers the tendon to make more room.
In addition to injuries of the hand, we have to be careful not to injure our back and shoulders. I hope this information has been informative and stresses the need for more awareness about the injuries that we, as hygienists, can incur while working at our profession.
Gail Harrington, RDH
Larchmont, New York