What Is De Quervain's Tenosynovitis?


Quick Answer

De Quervain's tenosynovitis is the painful inflammation of abductor pollicis longus tendons and extensor pollicis brevis tendons, which run through the wrists and help the thumb joints extend, according to MedicineNet. The condition causes soreness, tenderness and swelling at the base of the thumb and the side of the wrist.

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Full Answer

As of 2015, physicians don’t fully understand the cause of De Quervain's tenosynovitis, but physical strain, arthritis, and repetitive hand and wrist movements, such as playing golf, gardening or lifting a baby, worsen symptoms, Mayo Clinic states. Thumb and wrist movements feel restricted when a person makes grasping or pinching motions, and foregoing treatment leads to increased pain in the thumb or soreness that spreads up the forearm.

To diagnose De Quervain's tonosynovitis, doctors evaluate the location and sensitivity of the pain and perform a physical test, known as a Finkelstein maneuver, MedicineNet explains. The maneuver involves folding the thumb over the palm, bending the fingers over the thumb, and turning the hand towards the little finger and away from the affected tendons. To treat De Quervain’s tenosynovitis, doctors recommend techniques to relieve the inflammation, including splints, ice packs, anti-inflammation drugs and cortisone injections. In severe cases that don't respond to cortisone injections, doctors surgically loosen the tendon sheath.

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