De Quervain’s Tenosynovitis

Finding Relief from De Quervain’s Tenosynovitis: A Path to Pain-Free Motion

De Quervain’s Tenosynovitis is a painful condition affecting the tendons on the thumb side of your wrist. If you have it, you’re likely to feel pain when you turn your wrist, grasp anything, or make a fist. The condition is named after Swiss surgeon Fritz de Quervain, who first identified it in 1895. It occurs when the two tendons around the base of your thumb become swollen and cause pain and tenderness along the thumb side of the wrist, particularly when forming a fist, grasping or gripping something, or turning the wrist.

This condition is often associated with repetitive strain or overuse, particularly movements that involve grasping or pinching. New parents often experience it from holding their infants frequently. It’s also seen in individuals who engage in activities like gardening, playing golf or racket sports, or those whose work requires repetitive hand or wrist movements. Inflammation can cause the lining around the tendons to thicken, making it difficult for the tendons to move as they should.

Symptoms include pain and swelling near the base of the thumb, difficulty moving the thumb and wrist when doing activities that involve grasping or pinching, a “sticking” or “stop-and-go” sensation in your thumb when moving it, and tenderness on the thumb side of the wrist.

We Can Help

Diagnosis typically involves a physical exam, with the Finkelstein test being a common method where pain on the thumb side of the wrist during a specific movement suggests De Quervain’s Tenosynovitis.

Treatment often starts conservatively, with rest, splinting the affected thumb and wrist, and anti-inflammatory medications. Corticosteroid injections can also provide relief. In cases where conservative treatments don’t alleviate the symptoms, surgery may be considered to open the tunnel that houses the tendons, relieving the pressure.

With proper treatment, most people recover fully from De Quervain’s Tenosynovitis, regaining full use of their thumb and wrist.