Blackberry Thumb (De Quervains Tenosynovitis)

July 16, 2016 | By | Reply

– Dr. Niriksha Khasgiwala

Do you think holding a pen and writing a few sentences is painful?
Does your thumb feel sore, fatigued and achy while typing a few lines on the mobile phone?
Do you find lifting a heavy vessel or even holding the lightest umbrella in this rainy season causes immense pain in the thumb and wrist?

If the answer to any of the above questions is a YES then you may be having one of the conditions of the advanced technological world – THE BLACKBERRY THUMB.


It is a painful condition of the thumb and outer side of the wrist area due to repetitive movements of thumb causing overuse of the muscles and its tendon hence causing their inflammation and thickening.


Repetitive stress due to:

  • Excessive typing, playing games or any repetitive thumb usage over smart phones, tablets etc
  • Lifting a baby
  • Gardening
  • Wrenching of clothes very common in maids
  • Grasping and gripping activities for sustained period such as sewing or knitting
  • Bowling either normal tennis or cricket ball or even a tenpin bowling.


  • Pain and swelling at the thumb side of the wrist
  • Tenderness over the thumb base
  • Sometimes burning sensation in the hand
  • At times numbness is also present around thumb area
  • Stiffness or spasm around thumb area
  • Difficulty gripping with the painful hand.
  • Pain usually starts gradually and aggravates by movement of the thumb and wrist, and may also travel to the thumb or the forearm.
  • Associated neck pain occasionally


  • There are no scans done as such to diagnose this condition but is usually based on clinical evaluation and as per patient history and symptoms.


  • Anti-Inflammatory medicines and analgesics to reduce pain and inflammation
  • Thumb Spica or Splint to restrict movement of thumb and wrist and thus allowing it to rest
  • Local Ultrasound therapy
  • Dry Needling
  • Taping also helps in faster recovery
  • Stretching of some of the specific thumb side of muscles
  • Gradual strengthening exercises for the Finger muscles and wrist
  • Improving overall posture of the upper back and neck
  • Ergonomic corrections
  • Lifestyle modifications
  • If not managed conservatively Corticosteroid injections or Surgery is performed in some cases.


  • One should be careful while using gadgets with respect to
  • Duration of usage throughout the day
  • Maintain correct posture while using the gadget
  • Frequent breaks after every 20-30 minutes
  • Reduce duration of gadget usage when its not absolutely required.

We at PhysioRehab have come across a lot of painful thumb conditions like the blackberry thumb and have managed to serve our patients and make them go back to their normal life again with proper guidance so that in the future there are no chances of recurrences.

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