What is De Quervain’s Tendinitis?

De Quervain’s tendinitis occurs when the tendons near the base of the thumb are overused and become irritated, inflamed, and swollen. Typical symptoms of De Quervain’s tendinitis include:
  • Swelling seen near the thumb side of the wrist
  • Wrist and/or hand pain
  • A catching, snapping, or popping sensation felt when moving the wrist and/or thumb
Mild to moderate cases of De Quervains tendinitis are treated using nonsurgical treatment options. Severe cases may require surgical intervention.

How is De Quervain’s Tendinitis Treated?

The goal of nonsurgical treatment is to decrease inflammation, pain, and swelling. This can be achieved using any, all, or any combination of the following treatment options:
  1. Bracing or splinting the wrist and thumb limits movement, which in turn gives inflammation time to cool down.
  2. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Over-the-counter and prescription medications decrease inflammation and pain.
  3. Numbing and anti-inflammatory medications can be administered via injection into the affected area.
When these treatment options fail to decrease symptoms, surgical intervention may be necessary. A De Quervain’s tendon release is performed by cutting the tendon sheath that the irritated tendons run through. This frees the tendons and gives them space to move.