Mum’s Thumb : De Quervain’s Tenosynovitis (DQV)

New mum and a sore thumb?

De Quervain’s Tenosynovitis (DQV), also know as Mum’s thumb, is a painful condition caused by inflammation of the tendons that run along the side of the wrist that attach to the base of the thumb.

The 2 tendons involved in DQV are called abductor pollicis longus and extensor pollicis brevis;

– Abductor pollicis longus (APL) works to pull the hand back and the thumb into a “thumbs up” position

– Extensor pollicis brevis (EPB) works with APL to pull the thumb up and back

What Causes DQV

DQV is often caused by repetitive movement or overuse of the thumb or wrist.

The specific combination of 1. wrist flexion, 2. ulnar deviation and 3. thumb extension is what causes DQV.

New mum’s experience these proglonged positions in 2 main activities

1. when picking your baby up out of their cot or up off the floor, and

2. holding a phone in one hand and scrolling with the thumb of that same hand.

In real terms, we see mum’s thumb being caused by prolonged scrolling, usually in the wee hours of the night during feeds. But they don’t usually seek treatment until the pain is particularly noticeable when picking bubs up out of the cot.

Physiotherapy Treatment Of DQV

Management of DQV aims to decrease the inflammation of the tendons and address any contributing causes.

Physiotherapy treatment includes

– manual therapy such as deep transverse friction massage

– therapeutic ultrasound

– taping or splinting

– different holding positons


– changing to holding your phone in one hand and scrolling with the opposite index finger


Does this all sound familiar?

Don’t worry, it’s such a common condition that we treat that we’ve got it down to a fine art.

I hope this post has been helpful.

If you’d like some treatment on your DQV, feel free to book your next appointment online or ring us on 8356 1379

Sascha KH

B. Physio

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