De Quervains Tenosynovitis

What is De Quervain’s Tenosynovitis?

De Quervain’s tenosynovitis is a medical condition that affects certain tendons running through the wrist and hand. Also referred to as radial styloid tenosynovitis, De Quervain’s tenosynovitis often develops as a result of chronic overuse. Patients with this condition often complain of painful symptoms and reduced strength or range of motion. In many cases, proper medical treatment can help alleviate De Quervain’s tenosynovitis.

What is the Cause of De Quervain’s Tenosynovitis?

Although De Quervain’s tenosynovitis is a relatively common condition, the precise cause for which it develops remains unknown. Despite modern advancements in medicine and technology, doctors are unable to pinpoint an exact cause or set of causes for De Quervain’s tenosynovitis.

That being said, there are certain risk factors that can make it more likely to develop De Quervain’s tenosynovitis. Chronic overuse or repetitive motions can degrade tendons in the wrist and hand. Inflammation from rheumatoid arthritis can also contribute to De Quervain’s tenosynovitis. 

Ultimately, De Quervain’s tenosynovitis occurs when there is irritation in the tendons running through the wrist and into the base of the thumb. These tendons pass through a small tunnel. Any irritation, thickening, or swelling in this area can produce the symptoms of De Quervain’s tenosynovitis.

Are there Common Symptoms of De Quervain’s Tenosynovitis?

Patients who develop De Quervain’s tenosynovitis often experience the following signs and symptoms:

  • Inability to move the thumb to make a grasping or pinching motion;
  • Reduced range of motion or a “sticking” sensation when moving the thumb;
  • Dull or sharp pain at the base of the thumb; 
  • Swelling or inflammation in the base of the thumb. 

How is De Quervain’s Tenosynovitis Diagnosed & Treated?

The diagnostic examination for De Quervain’s tenosynovitis is fairly straightforward. A physician or qualified medical professional will generally start with a physical examination, probing for pain near the base of the thumb or wrist. 

X-rays and other imaging tests are not usually required to diagnose De Quervain’s tenosynovitis. Instead, a physician will typically perform the Finkelstein test. If the patient experiences pain during this test, it is a likely sign of De Quervain’s tenosynovitis.

Only after completing a thorough diagnosis can a physician recommend appropriate treatment options, which often include:

  • Medication — Certain anti-inflammatory medications can assist with decreasing the symptoms of De Quervain’s tenosynovitis;
  • Injection — When other medications fail, corticosteroid injections are often beneficial in reducing the swelling or inflammation of De Quervain’s tenosynovitis; 
  • Therapy — A thorough regime of physical/occupational therapy can help alleviate pain and other symptoms of De Quervain’s tenosynovitis; 
  • Surgery — When other methods fail, surgery may be the only way to properly treat De Quervain’s tenosynovitis.

Do You Need Medical Help with De Quervain’s Tenosynovitis?

If you think that you have De Quervain’s tenosynovitis, it can be incredibly helpful to reach out to an experienced orthopaedic physician. At the Orthopaedic Associates of Riverside, our physicians are all board-certified with proven knowledge and skill in orthopaedic medicine, including De Quervain’s tenosynovitis. If you need medical help with De Quervain’s tenosynovitis, contact us to jumpstart the recovery process!

Contact us today!