February 19th, 2011


Wrist splint

Top left: Left wrist with limited mobility. Difficulty tilting it downwards (thumb facing the ceiling). Top right: compare this right wrist to the left and see the difference in mobility! Bottom left: notice slight bump near base of the palm? That's where the tendon is swollen. Bottom right: Left vs right. Notice slight bump on left.

My S$128 accessory for a month -_-

I'm now trying to practice typing with this wrist splint as I'll have to wear it for the next month. The story behind it?

I sprained it some time back but never really tended to it. 6 months+ later, I've had multiple recurring sprains on the same left wrist including a few painful sessions. Each lasting up to a day and the last one that happened last month was so bad, I couldn't sleep without finding a spot to rest it where it wouldn't hurt. Strangely, the pain returned after I accidentally jerked up my hand while uh pulling up my shorts! By evening, the wrist had swollen and I was icing it and by bedtime, I was almost in tears.

A visit to the osteopath provided only temporary relief and I've been feeling a constantly pain at the inner side of my wrist. Pressing on certain areas hurt and tilting it in certain angles doesn't feel good. This week, my right wrist had similar symptoms and after speaking to someone who had similar symptoms, I decided it was time for me to visit a GP.

Got a referral to an orthopedic and he did a check. Tendon was swollen and I'd limited mobility in my left wrist. It hurt when he was pressing certain areas and he suspected the tendon and sheath (which covers it like a sleeve) were both inflamed. Got x-rays done just to be sure nothing was broken, they were all cleared, and he gave me my choices of treatment. Corticosteroid jab? Nooo. Heard it was painful and his best recommendation was to put it in a splint for a month. If that didn't work, steroid jab would be next and if it still doesn't work, a minor op to fix it.

Hopped over to the physio centre to get a customized splint made. It was an interesting process. An outline of my hand and arm was drawn on a paper towel, cut out and traced out onto the white plastic sheet. The cut out sheet was placed in a 60 degrees C hot bath, lifted out and placed on my arm and moulded immediately. Then I waited an hour for it to be set and moulded, holes punched out for ventilation, fitted with velcros and my splint is made.

I can remove it to shower etc and I need to strengthen my wrist so I've to do a series of wrist exercise and physio sessions. I'm recommended to use a track pad at home - perfect since I'm using a Macbook Pro. I can still do my exercises - running, yoga (forward motion is fine not sideways) but I'll take it easy on balancing poses. It takes awhile getting used to typing with it. It's hot wearing it and my sweaty palms sometimes drip sweat out -_- But I hope this sorts this out.

Both orthopedic and physio asked - How long has this been? 6 months??!! How did you deal with it?? I guess my threshold for pain is higher than I thought. B.T has seen me writhing in pain at night so he knows how bad it gets but I was just too stubborn to get it checked out. The pain lasts usually for just a day, subsides and it's fine and then cycle repeats a few weeks later.

The scientific name for this is called De Quervain's tenosynovitis. The Finkelstein's test was done for the diagnosis and well I did kinda fail it on the left side i.e. yelping out in pain. Cause is unknown and a result of constantly doing repetitive motion such as wringing clothes, twisting, tapping etc. Some call it the blackberry thumb syndrome - I don't use one. The person I know that has this has now switched to using an iPhone instead.

My mom's biggest worry - how am I going to carry my luggages for my upcoming work trips? -_- I'll figure something out.

Wish me luck.

P.S This is a common issue amongst women especially. New mommies, beware as you can get this from the constant lifting motion of carrying your baby up.

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