What is De Quervain Tenosynovitis?

De Quervain tenosynovitis is a type of wrist tendon inflammation. It is also called De Quervain syndrome, De Quervain tendinosis or De Quervain tendonitis. Middle aged women are most commonly affected by this condition. The estimated prevalence in the general population as of 2004 was 1.3% in women and 0.5% in men. This post will explain what De Quervain tenosynovitis is, explain the importance of understanding it and provide you some strategies to help manage the condition.

What is De Quervain Tenosynovitis?

De Quervain tenosynovitis is a condition that affects the tendons of the thumb at the wrist. It can be caused by overuse of the thumb and wrist, direct trauma to the thumb or inflammatory conditions such as arthritis. People with this condition often experience pain at the thumb and at the thumb side of the wrist, and is aggravated by repetitive motions of the thumb and side movements of the wrist. In some cases there may be swelling and the pain may radiate up into the forearm. If the condition worsens, pain can increase and impair day-to-day activities and can also decrease quality of life.

De Quervain Syndrome

Why Is Understanding De Quervain Tenosynovitis Important?

The pain may be minimal at first and this condition may not seem like a huge issue. However, delaying diagnosis or improper management can lead to poor healing, extend recovery periods and may even affect daily life activities. Moreover, in the worst case scenario a person may require extensive treatment. If you are experiencing pain at the thumb, wrist or forearm it is recommended that you go get it checked as soon as possible!

3 Strategies for Managing De Quervain Tenosynovitis

  1. Reduce activities at the wrist and thumb
    • In order for the tendons to heal, it is important that you decrease movements at the thumb and wrist, especially avoid activities that cause pain.
  2. Strengthen the muscles
    • Although rest is important for the tendons, we do not want to stop all activities around the wrist and hand as this can lead to stiffness. You can do exercises that will strengthen the muscles connected to the tendons. Strengthening these muscles will allow your tendons to take less load when performing activities. Isometric exercises are highly recommended in the beginning!
  3. Talk to a physiotherapist!
    • Physiotherapists can help you understand where you are in the healing process and they can give you appropriate exercises that can be done at home.

Let us help you get back to the things you love! Book an appointment with us today if you think you are experiencing De Quervain Tenosynovitis. Contact Our Office

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What are some activities that can cause De Quervain tenosynovitis?

Any activity that involves repetitive movement at the thumb and side motions at the wrist can be a risk factor of De Quervain tenosynovitis. Some examples include: skiing, racket sports, lifting an infant, and hammering.

Is a wrist brace helpful?

If you are involved in activities that require a lot of thumb and wrist movement it is recommended to use a wrist brace. However, we do not want to immobilize the area for a prolonged period of time. It is recommended to only use braces during activities that emphasize movements at the thumb and wrist.

How long does it take to heal? 

The healing timeline depends on the severity of the injury and how you manage it. Usually with adequate rest it should only take a few weeks to get rid of the pain. 

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