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De Quervain’s tenosynovitis, or tendonosis, is a painful condition that occurs when the tendons around the base of the thumb are irritated or constricted. The word “tendonosis” refers to a swelling of the tendons. Swelling of the tendons, and the tendon sheath, can cause pain and tenderness along the thumb side of the wrist. This is particularly noticeable when forming a fist, grasping or gripping something, or when turning the wrist.
Avoiding repetitive movements is the best way to prevent De Quervain’s tenosynovitis. Change your actions to reduce the stress on your wrists, and take frequent breaks to rest. Wearing a brace or splint on your thumb and wrist may be necessary.
Signs of De Quervain’s tendonosis:
To determine whether or not you have De Quervain’s tendonosis, your physician may ask you to perform the Finkelstein test; this test requires you to place your thumb against your hand, make a fist with your fingers closed over your thumb, and then bend your wrist toward your little finger. If you have De Quervain’s tendonosis, this test is quite painful, causing tendon pain on the thumb side of the wrist.
The goal in treating de Quervain’s tendonosis is to relieve the pain caused by irritation and swelling. Nonsurgical treatments include splints, over-the-counter or prescribed anti-inflammatory medications, and corticosteroid injections. If symptoms are severe or do not improve, surgery may be recommended. Regardless of the treatment, normal use of the hand usually can be resumed once comfort and strength have returned. Your orthopaedic surgeon can advise you on the best treatment for your situation.