De Quervain's Tenosynovitis

If the area around your thumb has been bothering you and symptoms haven’t improved after a couple of days, it could be caused either by carpal tunnel syndrome or De Quervain’s tenosynovitis.

What is De Quervain’s Tenosynovitis?

De Quervain’s tenosynovitis, also called radial styloid tenosynovitis or abbreviated to DQT, is a condition that affects tendons in the thumb and wrist causing pain and swelling around the area.

De Quervain’s Tenosynovitis Symptoms

In addition to pain and swelling, a patient with De Quervain tenosynovitis may also experience the following symptoms:

  • Limited range of motion of the wrist and thumb
  • Inability to grab items
  • Thumb “clicks” when moving it
  • Pain that radiates to the forearm

De Quervain’s Tenosynovitis Causes

De Quervain’s tenosynovitis could be caused by any event that puts a significant amount of pressure on the tendons surrounding the wrist, such as:

  • Writing for extended periods of time
  • Working in a position that requires repetitive movement of your thumb and wrist
  • Trauma to the thumb or wrist, such as a fall or other accident
  • Hobbies that require repetitive hand movements, such as gardening, knitting, or playing video games

De Quervain’s Tenosynovitis Risk Factors

In addition to repetitive movements of the wrist, the following are risk factors for developing De Quervain’s tenosynovitis:

  • Pregnancy
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis
  • Gender: Women are much more likely than men to develop the condition

Is De Quervain’s Tenosynovitis Permanent?

No. Fortunately, De Quervain’s tenosynovitis is a temporary condition that can be corrected with treatment.

De Quervain’s Tenosynovitis Complications

While De Quervain’s tenosynovitis is a temporary condition, it’s crucial to treat it. Not doing so will result in continued pain and limited range of motion of your thumb and wrist.

De Quervain’s Tenosynovitis Diagnosis

Your medical provider will apply pressure to different points around your thumb and wrist to pinpoint the exact location of the discomfort. They will also bend your fingers and wrist to see if such movements result in pain.

De Quervain’s Tenosynovitis Treatment

Once De Quervain’s tenosynovitis has been diagnosed, your doctor will recommend strengthening exercises, modification of activities, physical therapy, and or steroid injections. If symptoms do not improve, surgery may be an option.

Home Remedies for De Quervain’s Tenosynovitis

If the symptoms are mild, the following home remedies may help to alleviate them:

  • Wear a brace to immobilize the affected thumb and wrist
  • Apply ice to the affected area
  • Avoid repetitive movements
  • Over-the-counter pain relievers, such as Ibuprofen

Exercises to Relieve De Quervain’s Tenosynovitis

If the symptoms are mild, there are stretching exercises you can do at home to promote faster healing. See examples here.

When to See a Doctor for De Quervain’s Tenosynovitis

If symptoms persist after several days of home remedies and exercises, schedule a doctor’s appointment to prevent the condition from worsening.

Request an Appointment at The Orthopedic Clinic Today

At The Orthopedic Clinic, we want you to live your life in full motion. If you’re experiencing symptoms related to De Quervain’s tenosynovitis, let us help you. We’ll tailor a treatment plan that’s best for your lifestyle and get you back to doing the things you love.

Call us at (386) 255-4596 to schedule an appointment.