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Lifting with tendinitis in one wrist


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Around 2-3 years ago I was diagnosed with de Quervain's Tenosynovitis in my right wrist. It's basically carpal tunnel, but in a different tendon. Repetitive movements, like typing and using a mouse (all I do all day at work), as well as lifting heavy things like grocery bags or small children in and out of seats, makes it worse.

 

Dead lifts make it a lot worse. I did dead lifts at the gym yesterday, and full flareup is in progress.

 

This worries me, because I really want to start the StrongLifts program (power clean just looks bad for the inflamed wrist), but I worry that holding a progressively heavier and heavier barbell will cause the DQT to spiral out of control. I have received cortison shots in the past and they seem to help, but I really don't want to have a third, and the next step up is surgery. Currently I am taking an anti-inflammatory every day and wearing a brace to stabilize the thumb whenever it's practical for me to do so.

 

I'm looking for advice from lifters who have been in my situation. (Yes, I know I should be talking to my doctor, but while he is an excellent doctor and I trust him, he is not a lifter. He's a runner. I'm keeping him in the loop though.) Since the condition is caused by over-use, I have decided to stop doing dead lifts for now. I can do squats, since the weight of the bar is not supported by the hand or thumb at all, and will look to change up a lot of my dumbbell and barbell exercises for something that keeps stress off the wrist. I just don't know what those would be.

 

Exercises I'm looking to replace are chest press, shoulder press, including the over-head one, push-up and assisted pull-ups, for now. I think I can do row as long as I don't wrap my thumb around the bar, but haven't truly tested that theory yet. I'm not trying to replace the exercises in StrongLifts, at this point I'm simply trying to find things I can do at the gym that give the thumb tendons a chance to rest so they can heal, while working those muscles.

 

And I hope I put this in the correct forum. i wasn't sure where to put the thread.

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No one?

 

That's okay. This thread was a gamble, and I fully understand that no one wants the liability of giving this kind of advice in a forum. :) 

 

I have been working on strengthening the muscles around the tendon, so they can help it out, and it seems to be help so far. I am back to dead lifting and bent-over rows, and no flare-up yet. There is still pain, but it remains on the same level it was before the workout, so I consider this a good sign.

Book Riot Challenge 2021

“I've always believed that failure is non-existent. What is failure? You go to the end of the season, then you lose the Super Bowl. Is that failing? To most people, maybe. But when you're picking apart why you failed, and now you're learning from that, then is that really failing? I don't think so." - Kobe Bryant, 1978-2020. Rest in peace, great warrior.

Personal Challenges, a.k.a.The Saga of Scaly Freak: Tutorial; Ch 1; Ch 2; Ch 3; Ch 4; Ch 5; Ch 6; Intermission; Intermission II; Ch 7; Ch 8; Ch 9; Ch 10; Ch 11; Ch 12 ; Ch 13; Ch 14Ch 15; Ch 16; Ch 17; Intermission IIICh 18; Ch 19; Ch 20; Ch 21; Ch 22; Ch 23; Ch 24; Ch 25; Intermission IV; Ch 26; Ch 27; Ch 28; Ch 29

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If using a thumbless grip is all you need to enable the exercises, perhaps get lifting straps and use that in conjunction with the thumbless grip. I know for a fact this will work for deadlifts; how well it translates to the other lifts I couldn't say.

 

Edit: That is to say you can deadlift with thumbless grip + strap; not sure if it's ideal for your specific situation.

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8 minutes ago, calanthrophy said:

Edit: That is to say you can deadlift with thumbless grip + strap; not sure if it's ideal for your specific situation.

 

I'm not sure either, but even a quick trip to google suggests this is worth learning more about.

 

My dilemma is that on the one hand, I am trying to reduce stress on the inflamed tendon, but on the other hand, making the bar easier to lift for one hand (not sure how else to describe it) seems counterproductive, to put it mildly.

 

Thanks for the suggestion! As I start to go up in weight I will keep the straps in mind. :)

Book Riot Challenge 2021

“I've always believed that failure is non-existent. What is failure? You go to the end of the season, then you lose the Super Bowl. Is that failing? To most people, maybe. But when you're picking apart why you failed, and now you're learning from that, then is that really failing? I don't think so." - Kobe Bryant, 1978-2020. Rest in peace, great warrior.

Personal Challenges, a.k.a.The Saga of Scaly Freak: Tutorial; Ch 1; Ch 2; Ch 3; Ch 4; Ch 5; Ch 6; Intermission; Intermission II; Ch 7; Ch 8; Ch 9; Ch 10; Ch 11; Ch 12 ; Ch 13; Ch 14Ch 15; Ch 16; Ch 17; Intermission IIICh 18; Ch 19; Ch 20; Ch 21; Ch 22; Ch 23; Ch 24; Ch 25; Intermission IV; Ch 26; Ch 27; Ch 28; Ch 29

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 I think this is the first time I've heard of this.  I can't remember anyone else going through this to offer assistance.

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7 minutes ago, Br0din said:

 I think this is the first time I've heard of this.  I can't remember anyone else going through this to offer assistance.

 

I'm guessing the majority of people with tendinitis/carpal tunnel, or other wrist injuries, probably take their doctor's advice to "rest the joint" as an order to stay out of the gym. :P

 

I have decided to take what I learned from all the physical therapy I did to treat the severe tendinitis in my shoulder (See a pattern yet?) and apply it to my wrist. They made me lift and cable row specific exercises geared towards strengthening the muscles around the tendons in the shoulder. The idea was that the inflammation happened because the tendons were working too hard, so by making the muscles stronger they could do all the heavy work, and the tendon would not be re-inflamed from overwork again.

 

So I have been doing farmer walks, alternated with just holding on to dumbbells, starting with very low weights and gradually working my way up to medium. I'm thinking that by developing the muscles in the hand and lower arm, the same thing will happen with the wrist as happened to the shoulder. The muscles do the heavy lifting and the tendon just goes along for the ride.

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Book Riot Challenge 2021

“I've always believed that failure is non-existent. What is failure? You go to the end of the season, then you lose the Super Bowl. Is that failing? To most people, maybe. But when you're picking apart why you failed, and now you're learning from that, then is that really failing? I don't think so." - Kobe Bryant, 1978-2020. Rest in peace, great warrior.

Personal Challenges, a.k.a.The Saga of Scaly Freak: Tutorial; Ch 1; Ch 2; Ch 3; Ch 4; Ch 5; Ch 6; Intermission; Intermission II; Ch 7; Ch 8; Ch 9; Ch 10; Ch 11; Ch 12 ; Ch 13; Ch 14Ch 15; Ch 16; Ch 17; Intermission IIICh 18; Ch 19; Ch 20; Ch 21; Ch 22; Ch 23; Ch 24; Ch 25; Intermission IV; Ch 26; Ch 27; Ch 28; Ch 29

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3 hours ago, scalyfreak said:

I have decided to take what I learned from all the physical therapy I did to treat the severe tendinitis in my shoulder (See a pattern yet?) and apply it to my wrist. They made me lift and cable row specific exercises geared towards strengthening the muscles around the tendons in the shoulder. The idea was that the inflammation happened because the tendons were working too hard, so by making the muscles stronger they could do all the heavy work, and the tendon would not be re-inflamed from overwork again.

 

So I have been doing farmer walks, alternated with just holding on to dumbbells, starting with very low weights and gradually working my way up to medium. I'm thinking that by developing the muscles in the hand and lower arm, the same thing will happen with the wrist as happened to the shoulder. The muscles do the heavy lifting and the tendon just goes along for the ride.

 

I'm curious to hear how this goes over time! GL.

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I'll be sure to let you know. :)

Book Riot Challenge 2021

“I've always believed that failure is non-existent. What is failure? You go to the end of the season, then you lose the Super Bowl. Is that failing? To most people, maybe. But when you're picking apart why you failed, and now you're learning from that, then is that really failing? I don't think so." - Kobe Bryant, 1978-2020. Rest in peace, great warrior.

Personal Challenges, a.k.a.The Saga of Scaly Freak: Tutorial; Ch 1; Ch 2; Ch 3; Ch 4; Ch 5; Ch 6; Intermission; Intermission II; Ch 7; Ch 8; Ch 9; Ch 10; Ch 11; Ch 12 ; Ch 13; Ch 14Ch 15; Ch 16; Ch 17; Intermission IIICh 18; Ch 19; Ch 20; Ch 21; Ch 22; Ch 23; Ch 24; Ch 25; Intermission IV; Ch 26; Ch 27; Ch 28; Ch 29

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So it has been a really long time since I posted here, and I feel a need to report back on my progress.

 

First off, remember that tendinitis is not something that really ever goes away. My day job requires me to spend my entire work day using a computer, which essentially is as bad for my wrist as my waitress job is for helping a sprained ankle heal. That said, one of the very few activities that over time has proven that it does not make the tendinitis worse, is weight lifting. AT least as long as I do it correctly. For example, if I forget to lock my wrists in the straight position before unracking the bar for squats, that becomes excruciating very quickly. But deadlift, overhead press, bench press, barbell row... any of these are all fine. Any exercise that keeps the wrist locked straight, is fine, because it's the muscles in my arm doing the heavy lifting, not the tendons.

 

So lifting with tendinitis is absolutely doable. And that is awesome. :) 

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Book Riot Challenge 2021

“I've always believed that failure is non-existent. What is failure? You go to the end of the season, then you lose the Super Bowl. Is that failing? To most people, maybe. But when you're picking apart why you failed, and now you're learning from that, then is that really failing? I don't think so." - Kobe Bryant, 1978-2020. Rest in peace, great warrior.

Personal Challenges, a.k.a.The Saga of Scaly Freak: Tutorial; Ch 1; Ch 2; Ch 3; Ch 4; Ch 5; Ch 6; Intermission; Intermission II; Ch 7; Ch 8; Ch 9; Ch 10; Ch 11; Ch 12 ; Ch 13; Ch 14Ch 15; Ch 16; Ch 17; Intermission IIICh 18; Ch 19; Ch 20; Ch 21; Ch 22; Ch 23; Ch 24; Ch 25; Intermission IV; Ch 26; Ch 27; Ch 28; Ch 29

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So i was googling lifting with wrist tendonitis and found this thread. I was officially diagnosed with it in my right wrist yesterday, although ive stayed out of the gym for the last couple weeks out of fear of making it worse (been doing spin bike at home to hopefully negate some of the fat gain). The doctor i saw heavily suggested i dont do any lifting exercises for a couple more weeks. I dont really have a question as it seems as tho you have figured out how to keep the tendonitis in check. The only difference with myself is that i am a diesel mechanic and end up lifting and getting in awkward positions all day, and i really worry the wrist injury will become a chronic condition.

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Obviously, do not ignore your doctor's advice just because someone on the internet says something else worked for them.

 

My tendinitis has been at a "management" level for a long time. The inflammation needs to go down and the joint needs to heal, before you can go back to lifting with that arm. From that perspective, it's just like any other injury.

Book Riot Challenge 2021

“I've always believed that failure is non-existent. What is failure? You go to the end of the season, then you lose the Super Bowl. Is that failing? To most people, maybe. But when you're picking apart why you failed, and now you're learning from that, then is that really failing? I don't think so." - Kobe Bryant, 1978-2020. Rest in peace, great warrior.

Personal Challenges, a.k.a.The Saga of Scaly Freak: Tutorial; Ch 1; Ch 2; Ch 3; Ch 4; Ch 5; Ch 6; Intermission; Intermission II; Ch 7; Ch 8; Ch 9; Ch 10; Ch 11; Ch 12 ; Ch 13; Ch 14Ch 15; Ch 16; Ch 17; Intermission IIICh 18; Ch 19; Ch 20; Ch 21; Ch 22; Ch 23; Ch 24; Ch 25; Intermission IV; Ch 26; Ch 27; Ch 28; Ch 29

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I am not member of this club/forum/whatever but it happens to read this post just after i arrived back from the hospital where my good doctor cut my stitches. Yes i had De Quervain surgery 2 weeks ago. The symptoms started 3-4 months ago and i tried to ignore them at first for a few days. Then i visited a doctor who advised to take some anti-inflammatory pills (which i did) then i visited a physio who proposed a few sessions (which i did) then another doctor recommended cortisone injections (which i didn't) and finally i ended up in the surgery.

 

I workout mainly with body weight exercises about a year now. After i was diagnosed with de quervain i tried to keep the wrist locked and avoided to put great effort in the hand palm. It seemed ok until one day i woke up in great pain. And since i was already stuffed with pills i went on the surgery road. The operation was nothing special. It kept about 20 mins with local anesthesia  and after that the movement of my thumb was totally free with a normal pain due to the cut. One week later the pain was gone and today i removed the stitches. The thumb seems fully functional except when i put too much pressure on my palm.

 

The bad thing is that the doctor's recommendation is to avoid heavy effort  that may involve wrist/thumb for about a month, as this may develop adhesions. 

 

I do not recommend anyone to do an operation but i strongly recommend to take great care of this injury and be cautious not to end-up doing one. If you still feel pain, even slight pain doing some exercises, it is rather sure that it will not get any better keeping up this way.

 

 

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sufferring from DQT for the last 6 months, did 8 physiotherapy session and there is major relief as my thumb unlocks and i can do the desired movement in my thumb and pass the finklestein test but after a couple of hrs it locks again!!.... I really need advise i dont want to go for a shot or surgery please advise i need this to go away....and i needd to lift as well

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I suspect I have same too on my right wrist. I think it happened when I was lifting heavy barbell bicep curls. Happened in November 2020. I should have stopped and allowed it to rest but I didn't. I kept lifting; till recently I started resting and stopped weightlifting but I'm sad. I miss weightlifting and intend trying deadlifts and squats and cut off bench press, curls, etcetera. 

Truth is I don't know if it's DQT but I sure do feel pain on my wrist right below my thumb especially when I twist an object or try doing push-ups or lifting heavy on bench press. Oh it hurts. 

Any advise for me? Is there something I can do to heal this pain asap and resume with proper weightlifting? I feel jump ropes too affects the wrist though I don't feel pain. 

HELP PLEASE. 

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On 3/11/2021 at 1:46 AM, Kene said:

I suspect I have same too on my right wrist. I think it happened when I was lifting heavy barbell bicep curls. Happened in November 2020. I should have stopped and allowed it to rest but I didn't. I kept lifting; till recently I started resting and stopped weightlifting but I'm sad. I miss weightlifting and intend trying deadlifts and squats and cut off bench press, curls, etcetera. 

Truth is I don't know if it's DQT but I sure do feel pain on my wrist right below my thumb especially when I twist an object or try doing push-ups or lifting heavy on bench press. Oh it hurts. 

Any advise for me? Is there something I can do to heal this pain asap and resume with proper weightlifting? I feel jump ropes too affects the wrist though I don't feel pain. 

HELP PLEASE. 


You’re almost certainly going to need to do more than rest.

 

It sounds like you gave yourself some type of acute tendon or muscular injury, which is not uncommon in weightlifting. In the acute stage, you can often simply rest the affected tissue until it heals on its own. The real no-no, however, is continuing to train the injured area. I’m not a doctor, but I don’t think it takes a degree to hypothesize that when you did that, it’s highly likely that you further degraded whatever tissue you injured, and now it’s a chronic injury that will be more difficult to recover from.

 

The bright spot, though: you haven’t been training so long with this injury, and it’s unlikely to be permanent. It will simply take a little more work than if you’d respected the injury off the bat and rested the limb.

 

I think it’s quite likely you will need a consult with a sports orthopedist or sports physiatrist, probably followed by a training plan from a good physiotherapist. There is no way for anyone reading your posts over the internet, no matter how nerdy, to diagnose whether you have DQT, or another of the long, long list of muscular/neuropathic syndromes of the hand/wrist/forearm. Until you see someone, certainly don’t perform any exercises, like the pushups or bench presses you mention, that aggravate your injury. But hopefully, if all goes well and you see a doctor soon, you’ll be back to the weights within a couple months.

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