De Quervain’s Tenosynovitis

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What is De Quervain’s tenosynovitis?

De Quervain’s tenosynovitis is a painful condition affecting the tendons located on the thumb side of your wrist. A tendon is a strong band of tissue that attaches muscle to bone. A sheath, or covering, surrounds the tendons that go to your thumb. Tenosynovitis is an irritation of this sheath.

How does De Quervain’s tenosynovitis occur?

De Quervain’s tenosynovitis usually occurs from overusing your thumb or wrist, especially in activities that move your thumb directly away from your wrist such as skiing or hammering.

What are the symptoms of De Quervain’s tenosynovitis?

Symptoms include:

  • Pain when moving your wrist or thumb – Pain when making a fist
  • Swelling and tenderness on the thumb side of your wrist
  • Feeling or hearing creaking as the tendon slides through the sheath
How is De Quervain’s tenosynovitis diagnosed?

Your doctor will examine your wrist and thumb to find the areas that are tender and painful to move. An x-ray will be taken to rule out a broken bone.

How is De Quervain’s tenosynovitis treated?

The initial treatment is a splint or brace that will cover your wrist and thumb to protect it from activities that worsen your pain.

Other treatment may also include:

  • Use ice for 20-30min, 4-5 times a day – Take anti-inflammatory medication
  • Ice massage throughout the day – Cortisone injection
  • Your doctor may also recommend home exercises or physical therapy to help speed your recovery and prevent the problem from returning.

Information obtained from The Sports Medicine Patient Advisor by Pierre Rouzier, MD