De Quervain’s Tenosynovitis

The most common symptoms of de Quervain’s tenosynovitis include pain and swelling at the base of the thumb; trouble moving the thumb or wrist when grasping or pinching; and a feeling that the thumb is getting caught when trying to move it. If the condition remains untreated, the pain can spread down the thumb or up the arm—or in some cases, both. If resting the thumb and wrist from aggravating activities, applying ice, and taking pain relievers such as ibuprofen or naproxen haven’t helped, medical attention may be necessary. Most cases of de Quervain’s tenosynovitis are associated with overuse (the sheath that houses the tendons in the wrist and lower thumb become irritated). However, injury, rheumatoid arthritis, and pregnancy also can cause the condition. Most people who experience de Quervain’s tenosynovitis are between 30 and 50 years of age, and the condition most commonly affects women. Treatment beyond rest, ice, and over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medication may include custom splinting the thumb and corticosteroid injections. Physical or occupational therapy also may be appropriate to learn how to make necessary movement adjustments to perform activities without placing undue stress on the tendons in the wrist or hand. A therapist also may prescribe specific exercises designed to strengthen the muscles in the hand, wrist, and forearm to prevent a recurrence.