Graduation Date


Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science

Department or Program


Department or Program Chair

Madalienne F. Peters, EdD

First Reader

Madalienne F. Peters, EdD


DeQuervain's tendonitis is an inflammation of two tendons: the extensor pollicis brevis and the abductor pollicis longus as they cross in the first dorsal compartment of the wrist. Symptoms include pain, swelling along the radial aspect of the wrist, and a decrease in thumb motion. A positive Finkelstein's test at examination is seen. Frequently it is caused by repetitively gripping, lifting, and positioning the wrist in flexion, ulnar deviation with thumb extension. It is a common diagnosis in women, referred to as "washerwoman's syndrome". It is also common for new mothers to experience due to the demands their wrists are placed in with having a baby. Treatment options include rest, hot/cold modalities, anti-inflammatories, and splinting, steroid injection and surgery. The purpose of this paper is to review the current literature on deQuervain's tendonitis and address specific positioning needs for the nursing mother. Very few, if any OB/GYN clinics offer information regarding deQuervain's as part of their birth preparation classes. The case study is a 40 year old first time mother and her 6 week old infant. M.A. was experiencing symptoms primarily in her left wrist due to poor positioning techniques while caring for her daughter. She demonstrated a positive Finkelstein's test on her left non-dominant hand. M.A. was observed over several months and recommendations were made regarding positioning while nursing and caring for her infant, taking breaks to perform simple range of motion exercises and stretches throughout the day, wearing a thumb spica splint and performing contrast baths. These recommendations were successful in eliminating M.A.'s pain complaints.