De Quervain’s Tenosynovitis

De Quervain’s Tenosynovitis is an inflammatory condition of the tendons on the thumb side of your wrist. Repetitive hand motion day after day, can cause irritation around the covering of the tendons (the tendon sheath/retinaculum), if this occurs these tendons can then become thicker and start to swell restricting movement of the tendons through the tunnel that connects them to the base of the thumb causing pain and inflammation.

Commonly De Quervain’s can be caused by:

  • Overuse and repetitive movements of the thumb and wrist, in particular gripping, pinching or twisting motions.
  • Activities that rely on repetitive hand work such as typing, gaming, golfing, gardening and playing musical instruments can increase the risk of developing De Quervains.
  • Pregnancy and new motherhood is another common factor for De Quervain’s tenosynovitis due to hormonal changes increasing swelling and inflammation of the tendons and then further the strain placed on said tendons due to the need to repetitively lift and carry the baby.


  • The main symptom is pain
  • Swelling near the base of the thumb
  • Difficulty or restricted movement of the thumb and wrist


  • Resting affected hand
  • Avoiding activities that aggravate symptoms
  • Use of heat/ice therapy
  • Wearing a splint to immobilise hand and wrist
  • Soft tissue massage of surrounding areas
  • Use of pain relief medication
  • In worse cases the use of a corticosteroid injection or surgery can be used to treat De Quervain’s
Laura Campbell

Laura Campbell

Laura Campbell is a physiotherapist situated in Double Bay within Sydney's Eastern Suburbs. Laura specialises in effectively addressing musculoskeletal issues through comprehensive assessments, evidence-based diagnoses, and personalised rehabilitation plans crafted to suit each person's specific needs and objectives.

Sign up to our newsletter for the latest tips and tricks to stay injury free

Success! We'll keep you updated

Sign up to our blog to get all our articles delivered straight to your inbox

Success! We'll notify you when the next blog post goes live!

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This