What is the "Finkelstein's test"?

Make a fist with your thumb inside. Make sure the thumb is far enough inside the fist to touch the little finger. Now move your wrist in the direction of the little finger. This stretches the thumb side of your hand. Does it hurt? A little or a lot? This is Finkelstein's test. It helps diagnose a condition called de Quervain's disease.

De Quervain's disease is a painful tendinitis commonly caused by repeated motion of the wrist and hand. The condition is often seen in people who grip tools or play musical instruments for hours and hours. Many people are potentially at risk, but women seem to have the highest rate of de Quervain's.

X-rays usually come out normal for this condition. Finkelstein's test can confirm the diagnosis. The "hitchhiker's test" is also used. For people with de Quervain's disease, putting pressure on the thumb in a hitchhiker's position causes extreme pain in the wrist. Comparing thumb motion on the painful and normal sides usually shows a decrease in motion on the painful side.