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De Quervain’s Tenosynovitis and How It Impacts Your Ability to Work

July 12, 2017
De Quervain's Tenosynovitis and How It Impacts Your Ability to Work

De Quervain’s Tenosynovitis (“De Quervain’s”) is a condition affecting the tendons on the thumb side of your wrist. Pain and swelling in the thumb, along with difficulty completing grasping or pinching movements, are the primary symptoms of De Quervain’s.

While this condition can typically be treated successfully if diagnosed early, it can result in pain that spreads to the forearm if it is not treated. De Quervain’s can also be exacerbated if you need to repeatedly perform grasping or pinching movements.

Swelling, a fluid-filled cyst on the thumb, and numbness in the thumb and index finger are other symptoms of De Quervain’s. This condition is more common among women and people who are over 40.

If your job or hobby requires repetitive hand and wrist motion, you are at a higher risk of being affected by De Quervain’s. Arthritis and injuries to the wrist that result in a buildup of scar tissue can also increase your risk of suffering from De Quervain’s. 

The Finkelstein test is used to diagnose De Quervain’s, during which you bend your thumb, fingers, and wrists simultaneously. People with De Quervain’s will typically experience pain on the thumb side of their wrist during this test. Pain when pressure is applied is another sign of De Quervain’s.

Treatment for De Quervain’s usually focuses on pain management and preserving movement ability.. You may be asked to avoid certain activities that elicit symptoms. You may also use a splint or brace on your thumb or wrist.

Physical therapy for your hand might also be necessary. Surgery is needed in rare, extreme cases to relieve pressure on the tendons in your wrist.

If you perform repetitive movements with your hand or wrist as part of your job, De Quervain’s can significantly impact your ability to work. Rapid or high-force pinching or grasping movements may be impossible for someone who suffers from De Quervain’s. Even if you take time off to recover, your symptoms may become present again if you resume these stressful activities.

Because De Quervain’s only affects your hand and wrist, you may have to show that you are unable to transition to another job when filing a claim for long-term disability. If you have other conditions that prevent you from changing job duties, your De Quervain’s may effectively prevent you from working. You may also be able to receive partial disability benefits if your De Quervain’s caused you to change job duties and results in a substantial reduction in your income.

If your claim for long-term disability has been denied, consult with a long-term disability attorney to learn more about the appeals process.

Contact the experienced ERISA lawyers at Chisholm Chisholm & Kilpatrick to discuss your right to appeal a disability claim denial.  Visit our website to learn more about disability claim denials and to download our free ERISA law guide.