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De Quervain’s Tenosynovitis

  • What is De Quervain’s Tenosynovitis?

    De Quervain’s Tenosynovitis is an inflammation of the tendon sheath (called the Synovium) at the base of the thumb. The tendons that move the thumb become constricted in a tight tunnel. The inflammation comes from the friction created as the tendon glides along the thumb with repeated movements.

  • The usual cause of De Quervain’s Tenosynovitis is overuse of the wrist. Nursing mothers are often affected during the time that they are caring for their infant.

  • The main symptom is pain over the wrist joint near the base of the thumb. Other symptoms include:

    • Pain after increased activity involving the wrist and hand
    • Pain beginning as an aching sensation and progressing to a point when any movement of the wrist or thumb produces a sharp pain in the affected area
    • The painful area of the wrist may become swollen
  • Treatment usually includes:

    • Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs to relieve pain
    • Steroid injection
    • Wearing a splint to rest the area

    If the symptoms persist without improvement, day surgery may be offered. Surgery is almost always successful and you will regain normal use of your hand upon recovery.

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