De Quervain’s Tenosynovitis

De Quervain’s Tenosynovitis is a painful condition that affects the tendons on the thumb side of the wrist. The condition causes the tendons and the sheath surrounding them to become inflamed, leading to pain and difficulty moving the thumb and wrist.

The condition is named after the Swiss surgeon Fritz de Quervain, who first described it in 1895. It is also known as De Quervain’s Tenosynovitis, De Quervain’s Disease, or Mother’s Wrist, as it commonly affects pregnant or young women.

Symptoms of De Quervain’s Tenosynovitis

The main symptoms of De Quervain’s Tenosynovitis include:

  • Pain and tenderness on the thumb side of the wrist
  • Swelling and inflammation around the tendons
  • Difficulty moving the thumb and wrist
  • A feeling of weakness or numbness in the hand
  • A sensation of catching or snapping when moving the thumb

The pain may be mild at first but can gradually worsen over time. It may also spread up the forearm or down into the thumb.

Causes of De Quervain’s Tenosynovitis

The exact cause of De Quervain’s Tenosynovitis is unknown, but several factors can increase the risk of developing the condition. These include:

  • Repetitive hand and wrist movements, such as typing, gaming, or lifting a baby
  • Pregnancy and childbirth
  • Rheumatoid arthritis or other inflammatory conditions
  • Direct injury to the wrist or thumb

Diagnosis and Treatment

Diagnosis of De Quervain’s Tenosynovitis usually involves a physical examination of the hand and wrist. The physician may also ask about medical history and perform a Finkelstein test, which involves bending the thumb across the palm and then bending the wrist toward the little finger.

Treatment options for De Quervain’s Tenosynovitis may include:

  • Resting the affected hand and wrist
  • Applying ice or heat to reduce pain and inflammation
  • Taking over-the-counter pain relievers, such as ibuprofen or naproxen
  • Wearing a splint or brace to immobilise the thumb and wrist
  • Performing stretching and strengthening exercises
  • Getting a corticosteroid injection to reduce inflammation
  • Surgery to release the tendon sheath (in severe cases)

Most people with De Quervain’s Tenosynovitis recover fully with proper treatment and rest. However, the condition can recur if the underlying cause is not addressed.

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