Have you noticed pain and swelling through your thumb down to your wrist? You may have also encountered further pain when the hand is in use. While many conditions can cause pain along this area of the hand, one of the possibilities is De Quervain’s Tenosynovitis. This condition is named after the first surgeon to describe the condition in 1895. 

There is no reason to live with this pain! At South Shore Orthopedics, we can work with you to discover if this is what you are suffering from by providing you with the basics of the condition. If this resonates with you, don’t wait to come in for a consultation. 

Learning More About De Quervain’s Tenosynovitis

What causes this condition? 

To understand this condition’s causes, you must also know where it is happening. It affects the two tendons on the thumb side of the wrist. Usually, these tendons can slide easily through the tunnel of tissues called the sheath. However, any swelling of the tendons or a thick sheath can cause friction. As this occurs, the tendons cannot move as easily through the sheath. 

While that is what is happening in the hand, a person’s actions also contribute to the cause. This can fall into many categories, such as overuse, a repetitive grasping motion, inflammation, and even a direct impact on the thumb. Along with these possible causes, there are certain hobbies and sports that often contribute to the condition as well. Sports with a racket, gardening, hammering, and skiing can have this effect.  

What are the symptoms? 

Once you understand what can cause this condition, you can start to also pay attention to whether you are feeling the symptoms of it. Most patients start to struggle with a painful feeling in their thumb, whether it is on the side or through the base of the hand. This is often worse when the hand is in use. Alongside the pain, you may also start to notice swelling on the side of your thumb. When used, there may even be a sense of catching or snapping in the thumb. 

How is it treated? 

The treatment options for De Quervain’s Tenosynovitis can be divided into two categories: non-surgical and surgical. On the non-surgical side of things, doctors may consider providing you with splints, anti-inflammatory drugs, activity modifications, or corticosteroids. If these are unsuccessful treatment methods, your doctor may suggest moving on to a surgical option. Here, the goal is to make room for the tendons by releasing the tendon sheath. The hand and wrist can hopefully return to normal by releasing this. Your doctor can call for the best option for your unique situation.  

Who is at the highest risk? 

De Quervain’s Tenosynovitis is commonly associated with people between the ages of 30 and 50, but not often seen in those younger than that, including children. However, amongst that, the condition is often seen in women and a greater chance in women who are pregnant.  


There is no reason to stop your favorite hobbies out of fear of developing De Quervain’s Tenosynovitis. The important thing is to understand how it occurs to try to avoid it or figure out that you need treatment for it. One of the best ways to do this is by learning from those who deal with conditions like this every day. At South Shore Orthopedics, we have seen and treated our fair share of patients to be able to provide the information you need. Do you think you are suffering from De Quervain’s Tenosynovitis? Check out our website or give us a call at (781) 337-5555 for more information.