De Quervain’s Tenosynovitis is a type of tendinitis, or swelling of tendons, near the wrist and thumb. Tendons control mobility within the extremities and are the tissues that attach muscle to hand and finger bones.
With De Quervain’s Tenosynovitis, the two tendons around the base of the thumb become irritated. These two tendons pass through a tendon sheath (like a tunnel for the tendon) on the thumb side of the wrist. If the tendons become inflamed, the lining around the tendon, called the synovium, swells and changes shape. This makes it difficult for the two tendons to move within the tendon sheath. This swelling also puts pressure on the nerves in that area of the hand, which causes additional pain.
Tendinitis such as De Quervain’s can be a result of overuse or arthritis. This condition is most common in middle-aged women.
Symptoms and Diagnosis
A physician who specializes in care of the hand, such as Dr. Leah Urbanosky of Hinsdale Orthopaedics, will complete a physical exam to determine the cause of the pain. Something called the Finklestein Test is administered, in which the patient makes a closed fist and bends the wrist towards the smallest finger. This is close to impossible for someone with De Quervain’s Tenosynovitis, as the discomfort is located on the thumb side of the wrist.
Some other signs of this condition are:
There are non-surgical treatments to relieve pain caused by De Quervain’s Tenosynovitis. Simple lifestyle accommodations, such as avoiding activities strenuous on the wrist, are recommended. Also, anti-inflammatory pain medications may help temporarily ease pain. Steroid injections into the tendon sheath may help minimize the swelling and its painful consequences. A splint may also be used in combination with these remedies in order to immobilize the thumb and wrist may provide relief. Hand therapy may provide additional relief.
If non-surgical treatments do not help the swelling caused by the condition, surgery may be recommended. In this surgery, the tendon sheath is examined and cut in order to allow the swollen tendons room to move. This surgery is performed on an outpatient basis, so no hospital stay is required. Exact care and therapy post-surgery depends on a patient’s individual case.
If you think that you may be experiencing De Quervain’s Tenosynovitis, contact Dr. Leah Urbanosky for a consultation: (815) 462-3474.
Cysts & Tumors
De Quervain's Tenosynovitis
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Traumatic Hand Injuries
Joint Replacement of the Hand
Mallet Finger (Baseball Finger)
Swan Neck Deformity
UCL Tear of the Thumb
Osteoarthritis of the Thumb