DE QUERVAIN’S TENDINITIS
De Quervain’s Tendinitis occurs when the tendons around the base of the thumb become irritated or constricted resulting in pain, swelling, and tenderness along the thumb side of the wrist. Symptoms are most noticeable when making a fist, gripping an object, or when turning the wrist.
COMMON CAUSES OF DE QUERVAIN’S TENDINITIS
De Quervain’s tendinitis is often caused by overuse or repetitive motions that put stress on the thumb and wrist. It is also associated with pregnancy and rheumatoid disease. De Quervain’s tendonitis is most common in middle-aged women.
COMMON SYMPTOMS OF DE QUERVAIN’S TENDINITIS
Symptoms of De Quervain’s tendinitis include:
- Pain: on the thumb side of the wrist that can come on suddenly or gradually. Panful symptoms can also radiate up the forearm, especially when gripping an object or twisting the wrist
- Swelling: over the thumb side of the wrist
- Catching or snapping: sensation when moving the thumb
- Stiffness: in the thumb or wrist due to inflammation
To help diagnose De Quervain’s tendinitis, your physician may ask you to perform the Finkelstein test (see illustration to right) by placing your thumb against your hand, making a fist with your fingers closed over your thumb, and then slowly bending the wrist towards your little finger. If you have De Quervain’s tendinitis, this test may be quite painful.
Conservative treatments for De Quervain’s tendinitis are designed to relieve painful symptoms and reduce inflammation. Some common non-surgical treatment options include:
- Splinting: to rest and immobilize the thumb and wrist
- Over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medication: to help reduce swelling and manage pain
- Rest: to avoid activities that cause pain, swelling, and irritation
- Corticosteroid injection: are used to treat symptoms and reduce inflammation
If symptoms are severe and do not improve with conservative treatment options, surgery may be required. The goal of surgery is to open the thumb compartment to allow room for the irritated tendons. Normal use of the hand and wrist can resume once comfort and strength have returned after surgery.