What is De Quervain's Tenosynovitis?

14 August 2017

If you are experiencing pain and tenderness at the base of your thumb, you may be suffering from De Quervain's Tenosynovitis. While rather harmless and easily treatable, this condition can be very unpleasant and limit your everyday activities, so it is best to start dealing with it as early as possible.

With our short guide on WristSupports.co.uk, you can learn about the symptoms of De Quervain's Tenosynovitis, discover if you are at risk of developing it and find the best treatment possible.

What is De Quervain's Tenosynovitis?

De Quervain's Tenosynovitis is an inflammation of the tendons on the thumb side of the wrist and occurs when the two tendons, the extensor pollicis brevis and the abductor pollicis longus tendons, become swollen, which puts pressure on the nearby nerves, causing pain and numbness.

De Quervains Tenosynovitis

How Do I Recognise De Quervain's Tenosynovitis?

De Quervain's Tenosynovitis affects the base of your thumb, causing pain and swelling. Some of the most common symptoms include:

  • Pain at the base of the thumb that may even spread up your forearm
  • Swelling near the base of the thumb
  • A fluid-filled cyst in the affected area
  • Numbness along the back of the thumb and index finger
  • A snapping or catching feeling when you try to move the thumb
  • A squeaking sound when moving the tendons

What Causes De Quervain's Tenosynovitis?

The condition often appears without an obvious cause, yet it is often associated with chronic overuse of your wrist. Most common risk factors includes:

  • Repetitive lifting of heavy objects with the help of thumbs, for example lifting babies, grocery bags with loops or gardening pots 
  • Being female
  • Being over the age of 40
  • Pregnancy
  • Arthritis, especially rheumatoid arthritis
  • Wrist injury

Treating De Quervain's Tenosynovitis

De Quervain's Tenosynovitis is usually not dangerous, but can be a rather unpleasant and painful experience. With mild cases it is enough to simply avoid activities that cause pain, while more serious instances may require steroid injections, which relieve pain in around 70% of cases, or even surgery.

Most cases, however, can be successfully treated by wearing a wrist/thumb splint or brace that helps immobilise the thumb and the wrist, alleviating the pain and speeding up the recovery. Check our broad range of Wrist Supports for De Quervain's Tenosynovitis to find the right brace for you.


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