De Quervain's Tenosynovitis

De Quervain's tenosynovitis is a condition that affects the tendons in the thumb side of the wrist. When the sheath around these tendons becomes inflamed, it causes pain and numbness in the hand and wrist.

What You Need To Know About De Quervain's Tenosynovitis

What is De Quervain's Tenosynovitis?

De Quervain's tenosynovitis is a painful condition that occurs when the two tendons at the thumb base become swollen due to overuse. This swelling causes the tendon casings also to swell. Additionally, The soft tissue that makes up the sheath and the tendons may thicken or increase.

This inflammation puts pressure on the nerves, which can cause pain and numbness. De Quervain's tenosynovitis may make it difficult to perform certain hand and wrist movements, like making a fist, grasping an object, or twisting the wrist.

Getting relief for pain starts with a visit to the hand and wrist experts at Resurgens. Book your appointment now.

What Causes De Quervain's Tenosynovitis?

De Quervain's tenosynovitis is usually caused by overuse of the hand and wrist. When the tendons in the wrist and lower thumb are working normally, they should move freely through the tunnel that connects to the base of the thumb. Consistent gripping while extending and flexing the wrist can cause inflammation of these tendons.

This condition is common among new mothers who have to grasp or lift their babies, gardeners who do intense yard work, or anyone who engages in repetitive movement. It also is common among people who have rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, or other health conditions that cause body inflammation. Occasionally, the condition can be caused by a direct injury, since scar tissue affects the tendons' movement. However, De Quervain's tenosynovitis is usually caused by repetitive motions and overuse.

What Are The Symptoms of De Quervain's Tenosynovitis?

De Quervain's tenosynovitis symptoms may include pain, tenderness, or numbness in the thumb side of the wrist. Some other signs of this condition include:

  • Pain or inflammation at the base of the thumb

  • A firm nodule at the base of the thumb

  • Difficulty moving the thumb and wrist

  • Difficulty grasping, pinching, or gripping

  • Numbness in the back of the thumb/index finger

  • A "sticking" or "snapping" feeling when moving the thumb

  • A squeaking noise as tendons move in the inflamed sheath

How is De Quervain's Tenosynovitis Diagnosed?

During your initial consultation, your Resurgens physician will ask you some questions about the history of your hand and wrist pain. These inquiries will help them discover the nature of your condition and determine if you need treatment for De Quervain's tenosynovitis.

Your Resurgens physician will examine your hand and wrist and see if you feel pain when pressure is applied to the affected area. You may experience some mild irritation as part of this exam. They may also perform a Finkelstein test, where you will bend the thumb toward the palm of your hand and bring your fingers down over your thumb. Then you will bend the wrist toward your pinky finger. If you feel pain, tingling or numbness on the thumb side of the wrist/base of the thumb, your physician may diagnose you with De Quervain's tenosynovitis.

De Quervain's Tenosynovitis Treatment

There are many options for treating De Quervain's tenosynovitis. These treatments aim to relieve inflammation, restore free movement of the thumb, and prevent the condition from coming back in the future.

Recovery time for De Quervain's tenosynovitis varies, depending on the severity of the condition. During recovery, pay close attention to the treatment recommended by your doctor. Limit activities that may contribute to pain and irritation and slow your healing process.

Non-surgical Treatment

Treatment for De Quervain's tenosynovitis may include rest, splinting of the thumb and wrist, over-the-counter anti-inflammatories, and frequent icing of the afflicted area. Your physician may recommend corticosteroid injections to reduce pain and inflammation in the tendon sheath in more severe cases.

Surgical Treatment

In more severe cases of De Quervain's tenosynovitis, your doctor may suggest outpatient surgery. During the surgery, the surgeon will make a small incision in the tendon sheath around the swollen tendons, allowing the tendons to move more freely within the sheath. After surgery, you may need physical therapy to regain regular use of the wrist and thumb and prevent the condition from recurring. Once healed, you should have normal use of your hand and wrist.

Your Resurgens physician will recommend a treatment plan tailored to your unique condition. Book an appointment with the hand/wrist specialists at Resurgens today.

Learn more about the Hand and Wrist Center at Resurgens Orthopaedics.