Intersection Syndrome: The Subtle Squeak of an Overused Wrist
Patient histories that include wrist pain can be pivotal in the distinction between intersection syndrome (IS) and the more common de Quervain's tenosynovitis (DQT). Presented here is a 26-year-old pregnant woman with a history of rowing who developed left radial/dorsal wrist pain and a rubbing/squeaking sensation. Nine months of conservative DQT therapy and a landmark-guided corticosteroid injection failed to relieve her symptoms. An in-clinic ultrasound showed tenosynovitis at the intersection of the first and second compartments, confirming a diagnosis of IS. She found immediate relief with ultrasound-guided saline hydrodissection, the injection of saline into the intercompartmental space to reduce adhesions. Both DQT and IS are overuse injuries caused by repetitive wrist extension, as occurs in rowing, and either condition can worsen after pregnancy. Distinguishing the subtleties between DQT and IS can be challenging. Close attention to the patient's description of the pain can guide treatment, potentially expediting recovery. In addition, saline hydrodissection can be both a diagnostic tool and a potentially therapeutic alternative to steroid injections for such tendinopathies.