Tendinosis goes by many different names, including chronic tendinitis and chronic tendinopathy. These chronic tendon injuries can lead to pain and numbness in the area they occur. In the case of De Quervain's tenosynovitis, the tendon injures affect the two main tendons of the thumb, leading to issues with the thumb and the wrist. Serving the greater Atlanta, GA area, Dr. Steven Bailey at The Hand Center at Crawford Plastic Surgery can help treat De Quervain's tenosynovitis, alleviating pain and restoring motion to the wrists and hands.

What Is De Quervain's Tenosynovitis?

De Quervain's tenosynovitis is a condition that affects the tendons on the thumb side of a person's wrist. When patients suffer from De Quervain's tenosynovitis, they often experience pain when making a fist, grabbing objects, or turning their wrist. The condition tends to be most common among people between the ages of 30 and 50.

Symptoms of De Quervain's Tenosynovitis

Some of the most common symptoms of De Quervain's tenosynovitis include:

  • Pain around the base of the thumb
  • Swelling around the base of the thumb
  • Problems moving the thumb and wrist
  • Difficulty grasping and holding objects
  • A catching or stop-and-go sensation in the thumb as it moves

The pain in the wrist can appear suddenly or gradually, eventually traveling up into the forearm.

Causes of De Quervain's Tenosynovitis

The exact cause of De Quervain's tenosynovitis is not known, though the condition is commonly associated with repetitive stress and overuse. Repeated motions of the hand and wrist can irritate the sheath that protects the two tendons of the thumb. Over time, this leads to thickening of the sheath, swelling of the tendons, and restricted movement of the thumb and part of the wrist.

Injuries to the thumb and rheumatoid arthritis can also contribute to or cause De Quervain's tenosynovitis.

De Quervain's Tenosynovitis Diagnosis

Imaging tests are not required to diagnose De Quervain's tenosynovitis. During a consultation at our hand surgery center, we can discuss when the pain started to occur and what physical trauma, medical issues, or normal daily activities may have caused it to develop.

De Quervain's tenosynovitis is often diagnosed through a simple Finkelstein test. This involves a patient making a fist and then bending the wrist downward toward the little finger. The motion is similar to using a small hammer.

Treatment of De Quervain's Tenosynovitis

Many cases of De Quervain's tenosynovitis can be treated without surgery. Non-surgical treatments involve alleviating symptoms and discomfort so that the tendons have time to heal on their own. Common treatments may include the use of a wrist splint, use of anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs), corticosteroid injections, and avoiding activities that may aggravate the tendons of the thumb.

If non-surgical treatments are unable to alleviate symptoms, surgery may be recommended. Surgery for De Quervain's tenosynovitis typically involves cutting the tendon sheath in order to relieve pressure on the inflamed tendons.

Recovery after De Quervain's Tenosynovitis Surgery

After undergoing surgery for De Quervain's tenosynovitis, patients will need ample rest and will be asked to avoid putting stress on the hand. As patients recover, they will meet with a physical therapist to restore flexibility and strength to the hand. The physical therapist may also recommend new ways of performing common tasks in order to prevent future thumb and wrist problems.

Contact The Hand Center at Crawford Plastic Surgery to learn more about De Quervain's tenosynovitis and the treatment options available.