What is De Quervain’s Tenosynovitis?

We're happy to share insights from our doctors.

De Quervain’s tenosynovitis is the medical term for a specific type of tendon injury that occurs in the lower thumb and wrist. When the tendons in this area become inflamed, it can cause shooting pain in the lower arm, wrist, and hand. This condition often develops as a result of overuse and repetitive activity. Though there are other risk factors as well. Regardless of how De Quervain’s tenosynovitis emerges, it can be extremely painful and prevent regular range of motion in the affected area.

Causes of De Quervain’s Tenosynovitis

A person may develop De Quervain’s tenosynovitis for numerous different reasons. Even though each person represents a unique case from a physiological standpoint, there are common causes of De Quervain’s tenosynovitis, including:

  • Age — People who are over the age of 30 are more likely to develop De Quervain’s tenosynovitis.
  • Gender — Women have a higher risk factor of developing De Quervain’s tenosynovitis.
  • Repetitive Use — People who use their wrists and hands repetitively while working, playing sports, or gaming may develop De Quervain’s tenosynovitis.
  • Trauma — People who sustain traumatic injuries to the thumb, hand, or wrist can develop De Quervain’s tenosynovitis.
  • Arthritis — People who suffer from thumb arthritis or similar inflammatory conditions are at risk of developing De Quervain’s tenosynovitis.

Symptoms of De Quervain’s Tenosynovitis

When a person develops De Quervain’s tenosynovitis, there are various symptoms that can manifest. For example, this condition may result in:

  • Swelling in the lower thumb or wrist.
  • Numbness or tingling in wrist, thumb, or index finger.
  • Shooting pain along the back of the thumb or in the wrist.

That being said, it can be extremely difficult to self-diagnose this type of nuanced condition. As a result, any person who believes they might be suffering from De Quervain’s tenosynovitis should consult a medical professional for diagnosis and treatment.

Diagnosis & Treatment of De Quervain’s Tenosynovitis

When a qualified medical professional attempts to diagnose De Quervain’s tenosynovitis, the first step is generally a physical examination. Traditionally, a doctor will have the patient perform the Finkelstein test to gauge range of motion and pain triggers. It is often possible to diagnose De Quervain’s tenosynovitis without performing any imaging tests.

After a diagnosis of De Quervain’s tenosynovitis, the treatment options can differ greatly from patient to patient. In certain cases, a doctor may instruct the patient to rest the affected area and apply ice or compression. In other cases, a doctor may prescribe anti-inflammatory medicine or perform a steroid injection. In severe cases, a doctor may need to operate to relieve symptoms of De Quervain’s tenosynovitis.

Get Medical Treatment for De Quervain’s Tenosynovitis

If are experiencing any common symptoms of De Quervain’s tenosynovitis, it can be markedly helpful to consult with an adept hand/wrist surgeon. At Midwest Hand Surgery, our doctors have fellowship training and a demonstrated focus on hand, wrist, and elbow conditions, including tendon injuries like De Quervain’s tenosynovitis.

To best serve our patients, the doctors Midwest Hand Surgery provide personal attention in every situation, without depending on physician assistants to treat our patients. With surgical facilities and occupational therapy on site, we can provide a broad range of professional care in a variety of contexts. If you need medical treatment for De Quervain’s tenosynovitis or a similar condition, contact us today to schedule an appointment.

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