This condition, also called stenosing tenosynovitis of the first dorsal compartment of the wrist, is an inflammation of the sheath that wraps around the tendons at the thumb side of the wrist.
This condition is caused by overuse, particularly from activities that require forceful gripping while flexing and extending the wrist. It is very common in new mothers (the result of grasping and lifting their babies) and from active gardeners who aggressively plant and weed. Occasionally, it is caused by direct trauma to the wrist. It is also more common in patients who have diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and other inflammatory conditions.
Symptoms can include pain and tenderness on the thumb side of the wrist when the wrist and thumb are moved. In some cases, a catching sensation may also occur. Gripping with the hand may be painful. Often, a firm nodule can be felt at the point of tenderness.
Treatment options include rest, splinting of the wrist and thumb, and corticosteroid injections. Anti-inflammatory medications and a cold compress can also be used to relieve inflammation. If those treatment options are not successful, surgery may be needed.