Question: I’m new to the list. I have suffered from De Quervains for about 7 years now, I finally got to see the surgeon last week who has advised an operation – has anyone had this done – does it work, how long is recovery etc. Any advice welcomed
Answer 1: I have had the same condition since 1992. I would get a second opinion. Three consultants (none of them surgeons) I have seen over the years have told me many of these operations fail to bring about the improvement desired and they all recommended I did not try it.
Answer 2: I had my first De Quervains decompression operation in 1985 on my right wrist. I got some relief, but the advice that I received on after-care was not great, and would not be acceptable now (e.g. immobilising my wrist in plaster for 4 weeks, wearing splints whilst working, no stretching exercises, no advice on prevention). The condition re-occurred, and I had 2 further operations on my right wrist in 1988 (April and August). Again,
I got no long term relief, because now scar tissue was getting caught up in the tendons and causing pain. I had a final operation in 1990, which also involved re-siting the scar in a zig-zag fashion to try to prevent the scar tissue affecting the tendons again (my scar was recently featured in a publication about how NOT to treat my condition!). Things did not improve, and I then started to have problems with my left wrist, because I was trying to use it in favour of my right wrist.
I got to the stage where I was in pain most of the time, and could not do normal, everyday things such as getting dressed and brushing my hair without great pain. I am not qualified to advise you what to do, but speaking for myself, if I knew what I know now, I don’t think I would have had the first operation, and certainly not the subsequent ones. That all seems a bit gloomy – there is some good news, though:
The major breakthrough for me was finding the RSI UK web site in the early 90s, and seeing that there were specialists in ‘RSI’.I asked my GP to refer me to Dr Pearson, who eventually got me on the Input course in November 1995 at Unstead Park. This was the turning point for me. The Input course was excellent, and gave me back some control over my condition (which by them was causing me pain in both hands, arms, shoulders and back), and taught me a number of ways to help with the pain.
I am not ‘cured’, and I still have some pain most days, and I occasionally loose function in one or both hands, but I have a number of ways of coping with the pain and preventing flare-ups (having said that, I am having the worst flare up that I have had for ages at the moment!), and have made many adjustments to home and work life (voice recognition software, pacing, exercise and stretching, frequent breaks, etc.).
I still work, although I have had to move to part-time working because I can no longer cope with 5 days work per week. I’m sorry, but that turned into a bit of a ‘life history’, straying from the original point that I was trying to make! However, I wanted to make the point to other people on the list that there are some ‘success’ stories to be told!
Answer 3: I have De Quervains myself, now for about 7 months. Sometimes it seems to go away, but it always comes back.