Tendinitis of thumb (Dequervain’s tenosynovitis)
What is the problem?
Two of the main tendons to the thumb pass through a tunnel located on the thumb side of the wrist.
These tendons are covered by a slippery, thin, soft-tissue layer called synovium.
This layer allows the tendons to slide easily through a fibrous tunnel called a tendon sheath.
Any swelling of the tendons and/or thickening of the sheath, results in increased friction and pain with certain thumb and wrist movements.
What causes the problem?
- Most commonly associated with repetitive use.
- Known as writers cramp.
- This is a common condition in people caring for young babies or children.
- Thumb tendinitis rarely affects men, but common in middle aged women.
What are the signs and symptoms?
- Pain may be felt over the thumb side of the wrist or can travel up the forearm.
- The pain is worse when forcefully grasping objects or twisting the wrist.
- Swelling may be seen over the thumb side of the wrist.
- A "Catching" or "Snapping" sensation may be felt when moving the thumb.
- Pain and swelling may make it difficult to move the thumb and wrist.
How do I manage this problem?
- Anti-inflammatory medication (Ibuprofen) may help reduce the swelling and relieve pain.
- Rest. Simple thumb splints may be used to rest the thumb and wrist.
- Avoiding activities that cause pain and swelling may ease the symptoms on their own.
What other treatments are available?
- Corticosteroid injection into the tendon sheath may help reduce the swelling and pain