De Quervain’s Tenosynovitis

De Quervain’s Tenosynovitis is a painful condition affecting the tendons on the thumb side of the wrist. It occurs when the two tendons around the base of the thumb become swollen and irritated, leading to pain and difficulty in thumb and wrist movement.

Causes and Risk Factors

The exact cause of De Quervain’s is not well understood, but it is associated with overuse of the wrist and repetitive thumb movements, such as grasping, pinching, or wringing. New mothers are particularly susceptible, possibly due to lifting their babies repeatedly. Other risk factors include rheumatoid arthritis, direct trauma to the wrist, and activities or occupations that involve repetitive hand and wrist motions.


Symptoms typically include pain and tenderness at the base of the thumb, swelling over the thumb side of the wrist, and difficulty moving the thumb and wrist when doing activities that involve grasping or pinching. A “sticking” or “stop-and-go” sensation in the thumb may also be experienced.

Diagnosis and Treatment

Diagnosis is primarily based on clinical examination, including the Finkelstein test, where pain is reproduced by bending the thumb into the palm and ulnar deviating the wrist. Conservative treatment options include resting the affected hand, splinting to immobilize the thumb and wrist, anti-inflammatory medications, and corticosteroid injections. If conservative measures fail, surgery may be considered to open the compartment covering the tendons, relieving pressure.

Recovery and Prevention

Recovery depends on the severity and treatment method. Post-treatment, exercises to strengthen the wrist and thumb, ergonomic adjustments, and avoiding repetitive strain can help prevent recurrence.

De Quervain’s Tenosynovitis, though painful, can be effectively managed with proper treatment and lifestyle adjustments, allowing individuals to return to their daily activities without discomfort.