Pronounced: DEE-KUR-vains TEE-no-SIGH-no-VY-tisEn Español (Spanish Version)
De Quervain's tenosynovitis is an inflammation of the sheaths of the tendons (tenosynovium) that move the thumb away from the hand. It is technically referred to as a stenosing tenosynovitis. Both the tendons and their surrounding tissue sheaths are involved in the area where the tendon has to go through a small tunnel of bony and fibrous tissue at the wrist. The inflamed tenosynovium becomes painful at the tunnel area.
Treatment includes rest and medications. In rare cases, surgery may be necessary.
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De Quervain’s is a mechanical problem caused by repetitive use of the thumb and wrists. A direct blow to the area may also cause the condition.
De Quervain's tenosynovitis is more common in women. Other factors that may increase your chance of getting de Quervain's tenosynovitis include:
Symptoms may include:
Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done.
The Finkelstein test is often done to help make the diagnosis. Make a fist with your thumb inside your fingers and bend your wrist toward your little finger. If this causes pain at the wrist below your thumb, you may have de Quervain's tenosynovitis.
Talk with your doctor about the best treatment plan for you. Treatment options include the following:
Nonsurgical methods to help relieve pain include:
An injection of a cortisone-like drug into the tendon sheath is often effective in curing the condition.
When all else fails, an orthopedic surgeon will open up the small tunnel of bony and fibrous tissue and possibly remove some of the tendon sheath. This will allow more freedom of movement for the tendons.
Last reviewed May 2013 by Brian Randall, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.