What is De Quervain's Tenosynovitis

De Quervain's Tenosynovitis is a condition of the hand in which the tendons around the base of the thumb become irritated or constricted, causing swelling of the tendons (tendonitis) and irritation of the synovium (synovitis). The tenosynovitis causes pain along the thumb and wrist, especially when making a fist, twisting the wrist or gripping something. Symptoms of De Quervain's Tenosynovitis include pain over the thumb and side of the wrist, especially when grabbing onto something, a catching sensation when moving the thumb, pain and swelling of the thumb and side of the wrist.

What does treatment involve?

Treatment for De Quervain's Tenosynovitis may include splints, steroid injections, anti-inflammatory medications, or avoiding activities that cause swelling of the thumb and wrist. In severe cases where these treatments do not seem to work, a De Quervain's Tenosynovitis release surgery may be considered. During this surgery, under general anaesthesia, the thumb compartment is opened to decrease the pressure on the tendons, thus relieve painful symptoms.

What can I expect in terms of recovery?

It is normal to feel some swelling, pains and stiffness after a De Quervain's Tenosynovitis. After surgery, you will be advised to elevate and move your hand to avoid swelling and stiffness during recovery. You will also need to apply ice packs every hour. You will be given a splint to wear on your hand for the next few weeks. For the next few weeks, you will be given physical therapy to teach you how to exercise your hand muscles to enhance the mobility of your thumb. Patients are usually able to continue normal functioning in about 6 weeks.