Hand and Microsurgery Associates
De Quervain Syndrome Q & A
What is de Quervain syndrome?
Tendons are tough, fibrous connective tissues. One end of the tendon attaches to a bone, the other to a muscle. You use your tendons to move your bones. There are two tendons in your wrist that pass through a tunnel connecting them to your lower thumb.
When you have de Quervain syndrome, the tendons and surrounding sheaths thicken, narrowing the space in the tunnel. The tissues are called tenosynovium, giving the condition its medical name – de Quervain tenosynovitis.
What are the symptoms of de Quervain syndrome?
You feel the pain in the base of your thumb, and it can travel into your wrist. You might also find it more difficult to move your thumb in certain ways.
What causes de Quervain syndrome?
People who use their thumbs to play computer games or text frequently are increasingly affected by de Quervain syndrome, leading to the condition being known as gaming or texter’s thumb.
You might also get de Quervain syndrome if you hit your thumb and injure it, or if you have a condition like rheumatoid arthritis. It’s more common in women and often affects new mothers.
How is de Quervain syndrome treated?
The hand therapy team can provide a custom splint for your thumb and wrist to prevent movement. Under careful supervision, this immobilization of your thumb gives the tendons a chance to heal. You might also benefit from taking anti-inflammatory medication.
When rest and physical therapy aren’t improving your condition, a steroid injection into the tendon area could help reduce the thickening and relieve pain. If these approaches aren’t producing results, the Hand and Microsurgery Associates surgical team can carry out surgery to open up the tunnel and increase space for the affected tendons.
If you have symptoms of de Quervain syndrome, call Hand and Microsurgery Associates today to schedule a consultation.