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Texting too much can lead to De Quervain's syndrome but ESWT can help “Texting thumb,” “gamer’s thumb,” or what doctors call De Quervain’s syndrome can be painful, debilitating and common among our SF Bay Area lifestyle. We have to get a handle on this or we’ll all have arthritic thumbs down the line. It seems like a harmless tap on a screen but repetitive texting movements lead to inflammation of the tendon sheath (tenosynovitis), tendonitis, a taxing on the muscles and scar tissue.  Your body is not designed to play video games or send umpteen texts a day.

I have no research on gamer thumb, texting thumb or even thumb pain and extracorporeal shockwave therapy (ESWT).  However, we are talking about a tendinopathy here and this where Gamer's thumbs helped with ESWTESWT shines. This problem with the thumbs is a repetitive stress injury that is much like carpal tunnel syndrome, tennis elbow, golfer’s elbow, achilles tendinopathy or jumper’s knee. All of these present with similar sources of pain, are well researched, and get great results with ESWT. In fact, there are over 300 peer reviewed journal articles on shockwave therapy that beg us to keep finding new ways to help people with this wonderful technology.

POSSIBLE SYMPTOMS OF GAMER’S THUMB (DE QUERVAIN’S SYNDROME)De Quervain's syndrome and help with acoustic waves

  • Pain in the entire thumb
  • Decreased grip strength
  • Wrist pain
  • Forearm pain
  • Snapping or popping on movement
  • And even a trigger finger


Helping Gamer's Thumb with ESWT

Dr Fields of Los Gatos/San Jose, CA helping the effects of chronic texting

When exposed to chronic inflammation and tendon irritation, the tendons become encroached, by the thickened synovial sheaths and they both begin to degenerate. ESWT brings new blood vessels into the degenerated tissue and healing begins to occur.  Although, there are often symptomatic improvements early on in the care, the full effects of the treatment are not fully realized for 12 weeks after treatment.

The joint itself and the surrounding muscles are also addressed which decreases scar tissue and inflammation and further aids in the healing process.

When visiting our San Jose or Los Gatos locations you will you will receive joint mobilization, lifestyle counseling, spinal adjustments to help the brain-hand connection and home exercises in addition to ESWT.  Here are a couple examples:

A good stretch for tester's and gamer's thumb

Stretch the thumb 15 sec. 2X/day

Massaging the palm of the hand for De Quervain's syndrome

Use lacrosse ball to massage hand

You can reach Dr Fields for in-person (Los Gatos and San Jose, California) or telehealth appointments here.