De quervain disease: Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment

De quervain disease is a disorder of the tendons of the thumb as they cross the wrist joint and attach to the bones of the thumb. While crossing the wrist joint they pass through a tunnel of fibrous tissue called retinaculum. Here they are lubricated by a synovial sheath called tenosynovium.

In this condition the tenosynovium loses its lubrication and constricts the tendons. This causes pain during different activities that involve the thumb.

Different conditions that cause this disease include

  • over use
  • repeated mild injury
  • gout
  • rheumatoid arthritis

Symptoms include pain located just behind the base of the thumb. Pain is increased by activities that involve movement of the thumb. Mild swelling may be present over the site of pain. Tenderness is present over the tendons where they pass the wrist joint (radial styloid).

This disease is 10 times more common in females and is seen between the age of 35 to 65 years usually.

Diagnosis is made by history and physical findings. rays of the wrist are usually normal.

Treatment includes the following

  • NSAIDs (drugs such as aspirin, diclofenac and ibuprofen)
  • using a splint on the hand
  • injection of steroid in the tendon sheath
  • surgery

Most people obtain complete relief after a single injection of steroid in the tendon sheath. Very few patients require surgery. During surgery the the fibrous tunnel of the tendons is opened up. This releases their constriction and provides relief from pain.

I hope the information provided was helpful. If you have any query you can ask me at the contact me page.

This page was last updated on 30th March 2009.

Other causes of wrist pain...


Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Scaphoid Fracture

Wrist Fracture

Madelung Deformity

Wrist Anatomy

Back to Wrist Pain from De quervain disease


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