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De Quervain Tenosynovitis

  • What is De Quervain’s Tenosynovitis?

    De Quervain’s tenosynovitis is a swelling of the tendon sheath (called the synovium) at the base of the thumb. The tendons that move the thumb become squeezed in a tight tunnel. The swelling arises from the friction created as the tendon rubs along the thumb repeatedly.

  • The typical cause of de Quervain’s tenosynovitis is the overuse of the wrist. It often affects nursing mothers during the period which they care for their child.

  • The main symptom is pain at the wrist joint near the base of the thumb. Other symptoms include:

    • Pain after increased activity involving the wrist and hand
    • Pain beginning as an aching feeling and developing to a point where any movement of the wrist or thumb causes a sharp pain in the affected area
    • Swelling around the painful area of the wrist
  • Treatment usually includes:

    • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs to ease the pain
    • Steroid injections to ease pain and swelling
    • Wearing a splint to rest the area

    If the symptoms persist without improvement, day surgery may be recommended. Surgery for de Quervain's tenosynovitis is almost always successful and you will regain normal use of your hand upon recovery.

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