Common Conditions

De Quervain’s Tenosynovitis

de quervains treatment

De Quervain’s tenosynovitis is a type of tendon injury affecting two tendons of the thumb. These tendons allow thumb movement in extension (lifting the thumb away from the palm) and abduction (moving the thumb away from the fingers).

In De Quervain’s tenosynovitis the tendon sheath, which houses the tendons, becomes narrowed within the first dorsal compartment in the wrist. This places pressure over the tendons, causing rubbing and irritation to them.


Anatomy of De Quervains tenosynovitis - The diagram displays the radial aspect of the wrist and location of the first dorsal extensor compartment with tendons extensor pollicis brevis and abductor pollicis longus. #Dequervains #Anatomy #Firstdorsalcompartment

How Can Our Hand Therapists Help?

Symptoms of De Quervain’s tenosynovitis are worsened by continual trauma to the tendons from repetitive thumb and wrist movements. A hand therapist analyses activity to identify tasks contributing to these unwanted movements and can assist with strategies to reduce tissue stress and promote tendon healing.

Depending on the severity of your inflammation, a hand therapist can advise on how to incorporate safer wrist positioning in your day and if indicated, fit a customised splint. In some cases, surgical solutions may be required. Hand therapists will provide post-operative care and rehabilitation if this is the case or direct your care to an appropriate specialist.

Interesting Fact

Symptoms of De Quervain’s tenosynovitis are now being identified in studies to be more prevalent amongst populations with high smartphone use due to the repetitive thumb movements involved in scrolling while holding a phone (Benites-Zapata, et al., 2021).


Benites-Zapata VA, Jiménez-Torres VE, Ayala-Roldán MP (2021). Problematic smartphone use is associated with de Quervain’s tenosynovitis symptomatology among young adults. Musculoskeletal Science and Practice, 53, doi: 10.1016/j.msksp.2021.102356.

Examples of
Solutions to Try

While these are general examples, our hand therapists will help match solutions best suited to your condition and specific needs.

A face-to-face consultation will allow for thorough investigation.

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