De Quervain’s Tenosynovitis
De Quervain’s tenosynovitis is a debilitating condition characterised by pain on the thumb-side of the wrist. It is named after the Swiss surgeon Fritz de Quervain who first described the disease in 1895.
The underlying cause is inflammation of the tunnel that surrounds two tendons that help control movement of the thumb. Frequently it occurs after a period of repetitive ‘overuse’ – one of the most common presentations is in the mother of a newborn baby. The sudden requirement to continually pick up an infant can lead to rubbing of the tendons against the tunnel wall creating inflammation and discomfort.
The pain can be spectacularly exacerbated by tucking your thumb into your fingers and tilting your wrist to the side.
The treatment of de Quervain’s depends on the severity of the symptoms and can include splinting, hand therapy, corticosteroid injections, and hand surgery. A review with a Hand Surgeon is a good starting point.