De Quervain’s tenosynovitis is a medical condition that affects the tendons in the wrist that control the movement of your thumbs. The tendons usually pass through sheaths which help to keep them in place.
However, if the sheath swells due to inflammation, friction can occur with the tendon causing pain, swelling, and discomfort in your wrist and thumb area. This can interfere with everyday activities such as grasping or holding objects.
What causes De Quervain’s tenosynovitis?
De Quervain’s tenosynovitis can be caused by a variety of factors such as:
Overuse: repetitive movements can cause inflammation of the tendon and sheath, leading to De Quervain’s tenosynovitis.
Injury: injury or trauma such as a direct hit to the thumb can cause the tendon to become inflamed.
Arthritis:arthritis is an inflammation of the joints, this can lead to inflammation of the tendons and sheath, resulting in De Quervain’s tenosynovitis.
Hobbies or sports: activities such as tennis, badminton, carrying or lifting children, and gardening can cause tendons and sheath to become inflamed.
What are the symptoms of De Quervain’s tenosynovitis?
Symptoms of De Quervain’s tenosynovitis include:
Pain or tenderness in your wrist or thumb area
Swelling or inflammation near the base of your thumb
Difficulty moving your thumb and wrist
Snapping sensation when moving your thumb
Weakness when gripping or holding objects
Numbness or tingling in your thumb or fingers
If you notice any of the symptoms, make an appointment with an orthopaedic specialist to get an accurate diagnosis and treatment.
Dr Puah KL is our Senior Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon at Artisan Sports & Orthopaedic Surgery. He used to serve the sports service of Singapore General Hospital - the highest volume trauma centre for orthopaedics in Singapore.
For some, De Quervain’s tenosynovitis can be a painful condition. The inflammation and swelling of the tendons in your wrist and thumb area can cause discomfort and tenderness, especially when moving.
This pain can range from mild to severe and may worsen over time with continuous use of the affected hand.
Who is at risk of De Quervain’s tenosynovitis in Singapore?
There are several factors that increase your risk of developing De Quervain’s tenosynovitis, these are:
Gender: women are more prone to De Quervain’s tenosynovitis than men.
Pregnant: pregnant women are at a higher risk of developing De Quervain’s tenosynovitis.
Age: individuals between the ages of 30 to 50 are more likely to develop De Quervain’s tenosynovitis than others.
Hobbies or jobs: activities that involve repetitive thumb and wrist movement will increase your risk of developing De Quervain’s tenosynovitis.
Taking care of babies: carrying or lifting babies can put excess strain on your thumb and wrist, increasing your risk of developing De Quervain’s tenosynovitis.
Medical conditions: certain medical conditions such as arthritis can increase your risk.
How is De Quervain’s tenosynovitis diagnosed?
Diagnosing De Quervain’s tenosynovitis involves the following:
Physical examination: a physical examination will be performed to check the severity of your condition and confirm if you have De Quervain’s tenosynovitis. You may be asked to perform a Finklestein test, which involves bending your thumb across your palm followed by bending your fingers down over your thumb to make a fist. If this causes pain in your wrist, it is likely that you have De Quervain’s Tenosynovitis.
Imaging tests:x-rays or an ultrasound may be used to rule-out other causes of thumb and wrist pain.
If you suspect that you may have De Quervain’s tenosynovitis, it is important to consult with an orthopaedist for a proper diagnosis so that you can get the appropriate treatment and prevent further injury.
What are the treatment options for De Quervain’s tenosynovitis in Singapore?
If you are diagnosed with De Quervain’s tenosynovitis, there are several treatment options available to help manage your symptoms and promote healing.
However, the type of treatment you receive highly depends on the severity of your condition, which can vary between individuals.
Common treatment options for De Quervain’s tenosynovitis include:
Rest: avoid activities that further aggravate your wrist and hand.
Medications: Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and painkillers may be prescribed to reduce inflammation and alleviate pain.
Physiotherapy:physiotherapy involves gentle and therapeutic exercises to help strengthen your muscles and improve your range of motion.
Surgery: for severe cases, surgery also known as De Quervain’s release, may be recommended to release the constricted tendons to alleviate pain and improve your mobility.
Frequently asked questions
What is the fastest way to cure De Quervain’s tenosynovitis?
How long does it take for De Quervain’s tenosynovitis to heal?
Is De Quervain’s tenosynovitis permanent?
Feeling aches and pains?
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