Gamer’s Thumb: Is It a Fact or a Myth?

professional gamers competing

Does your hand hurt whenever you bend your thumb? If you got game and play for excessively long hours, then you might be suffering from a gamer’s thumb.

De Quervain’s tenosynovitis is a medical condition that affects the tendons located on the thumb side of the wrist. People who have this often feel pain whenever they turn their wrist. The same thing also happens whenever they try to grasp something or make a fist.

Experts still have not found the exact cause of de Quervain’s tenosynovitis. But any activity that relies on repetitive wrist or hand gestures can make this condition worse. Other probable causes include gaming, repetitive workplace tasks, and even inflammatory health conditions.

The primary symptoms

People suffering from the so-called gamer’s thumb feel pain along the back of their thumb, right over the two tendons. The base of their thumb, as well as the side of their wrist, also start to swell.

De Quervain’s tenosynovitis can either happen gradually or start abruptly. Either way, the painful sensation often spreads into the thumb or directly up to the forearm. Once you have this type of condition, it will be extremely painful for you to move your thumb, especially when you try to grasp or pinch things.

Diagnosing de Quervain’s tenosynovitis

doctor speaking with her patient

You need to consult a general physician in Des Moines, IA to accurately diagnose your condition. The doctor will start by checking your hands to see if you will feel pain. The doctor will then apply pressure directly to your wrist to see if it will hurt.

Next, the doctor will perform the Finkelstein test. Here, you will be asked if it is possible to bend your thumb right across your palm. Then, you will need to turn your fingers until you reach the thumb side of the wrist. If you feel any pain while doing it, there is a chance that you have de Quervain’s tenosynovitis.

The treatment options

The main goal of treatment is to ease the inflammation and the pain every time you move your thumb and stop it from repeating. The treatment involves medication, as well as sprint and physical therapy. You can get pain relievers like naproxen to help reduce the swelling. If it does not work, the doctor may suggest injecting you with steroids directly to the sheath that covers your tendons.

Your doctor will also ask you to apply a splint to hold both your wrist and thumb firmly. You need to wear it for the entire day for at least four to six weeks until your wrist starts to recover. You also need to attend a few therapies to help strengthen your arms, hands, and your wrist.

These are only some of the things that you need to know when you have de Quervain’s tenosynovitis or gamer’s thumb. If the treatments do not help you recover, however, then your doctor may suggest surgery. Home remedies, as well as a few lifestyle changes, can also help you improve your health condition.

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