DeQuervain’s Disease

Other Names: Stenosing Tenosynovitis, Wrist Tendonitis.

What It Is: Tendons that move the thumb and wrist are like cables. They slide through very tight tunnels (sleeves) in the wrist, at the base of the thumb and in the back of the wrist. Any swelling in these tendons or their tunnel will prevent smooth gliding and cause these tendons to get stuck in the tunnel. This results in the inability to move the thumb or wrist without pain.

Cause: This is usually the result of inflammation, which may be secondary to repetitive trauma or a specific injury, or physical stress to that area of the thumb and wrist.

Treatment: Rest, splinting and Hand Therapy may take care of the problem. Anti-inflammatory medication and sometimes a steroid (cortisone) injection can be of help. Occasionally, surgery is needed to relieve the pressure around the tendons. If surgery becomes necessary, you may be required to wear a splint after surgery for two to four weeks. Hand Therapy is usually needed, to help restore motion and muscle strength.