De Quervain’s Tendinitis

De Quervain’s Tendinitis

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De Quervain’s tendinitis is a condition brought on by the irritation or inflammation of the wrist tendons at the base of the thumb. The inflammation causes a constriction of the tendons as they travel through a tight tunnel in the wrist, creating pain with thumb and wrist movement.


Overuse is the primary cause of De Quervain’s tendinitis. The tendons at the base of the thumb become irritated by repetitive activity such as texting. People who have suffered a wrist fracture or injury to the tendon can be predisposed to develop this condition, as are women during the post-partum period. It is also associated with inflammatory conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis.


The main symptom is a feeling of pain over the thumb side of the wrist that appears gradually or suddenly. The pain can travel up the forearm or down through the thumb. Making a fist, pinching, grasping or twisting objects are common painful movements with this condition. Further, there may be swelling over the thumb side of the wrist which may include a fluid-filled cyst. There could also be numbness on the back of the thumb and the index finger. There may be a “snapping” sensation when moving the thumb.


Depending on the severity of the condition, physicians will try non-surgical approaches to relieve the pain caused by irritation and swelling. Physicians may recommend using splints to rest the thumb and wrist. Anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs) may help reduce pain. Activity modification to avoid motions that cause pain may be recommended. If the symptoms persist, an injection of corticosteroids into the tendon sheath may help relieve the condition.


If the symptoms are severe or do not improve with non-operative treatment, surgery to open the thumb compartment to make more room for the irritated tendons may be recommended.

New Mexico Orthopaedics is a multi-disciplinary orthopaedic clinic located in Albuquerque New Mexico. We have multiple physical therapy clinics located throughout the Albuquerque metro area.

New Mexico Orthopaedics offers a full spectrum of services related to orthopaedic care and our expertise ranges from acute conditions such as sports injuries and fractures to prolonged, chronic care diagnoses, including total joint replacement and spinal disorders.

Because our team of highly-trained physicians specialize in various aspects of the musculoskeletal system, our practice has the capacity to treat any orthopaedic condition, and offer related support services, such as physical therapy, WorkLink and much more.

If you need orthopedic care in Albuquerque New Mexico contact New Mexico Orthopaedics at 505-724-4300.