De Quervain tenosynovitis is one of the most known types of tendon lining inflammation. It is a painful swelling that affects the wrist tendons on the side of the thumb. De Quervain causes pain when you grasp things and turn or twist your wrist if you have the condition.
Tendons are tissue bands that connect muscles to bones. Tendons normally glide effortlessly through a tunnel of tissue known as a sheath. With de Quervain tenosynovitis, the tendons become inflamed or thickened, which causes friction. Tendons can no longer pass easily through their sheaths. One will most likely experience pain when turning the wrist, grasping anything, or making a fist.
De Quervain tenosynovitis may be triggered by repetitive grasping or activities that demand a sideways wrist motion while gripping with the thumb, such as gardening, golf, racket sports, or lifting a baby. However, the definite cause of this condition is still unknown. Common treatments include splints and surgery.
Symptoms of de Quervain tenosynovitis may include:
- Tenderness and pain down the side of the wrist on the thumb side
- Thumb swelling towards the base
- Pain or discomfort when moving the thumb, especially when grabbing or squeezing objects
- Snapping or popping feeling in the wrist when moving the thumb
- Pain that worsens when using the hand and thumb
- Pain that arrives suddenly or gradually
- If left untreated, pain that spreads from the wrist to the lower arm or into the thumb (forearm)
It is recommended to consult a healthcare professional if the symptoms of de Quervain tenosynovitis persist despite applying first-aid treatment such as taking Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory (NSAIDs), applying ice to the affected area, and refraining from using or moving the thumb. The doctor will need to examine the area for correct diagnosis.
Tendons are the structures that connects muscle to bone. A tunnel of tissue known as sheath keeps the tendons in place next to the bones of the thumb. With de Quervain tenosynovitis, two tendons on the wrist’s thumb are inflamed.
The thickness and swelling make it difficult for the tendons to pass through the sheath, which connects them to the base of the thumb. Chronic overuse, such as performing the same hand action daily, may aggravate the covering around the tendons.
De Quervain tenosynovitis can also be caused by:
- Inflammatory conditions such as arthritis
- Trauma to the wrist or tendon, resulting to scar tissue that inhibits tendon movement
- Fluid retention caused by hormonal changes during pregnancy
Several risk factors may increase one’s risk of having de Quervain tenosynovitis, such as:
- Age: Compared to other age groups, including children, people between the ages of 30 and 50 are more susceptible to de Quervain tenosynovitis.
- Sex: This condition affects women eight to 10 times more often than men.
- Being pregnant: Hormonal changes during pregnancy can trigger this condition.
- Baby care: The condition may be related to frequently lifting a child, who often requires using the thumbs as leverage.
- Repetitive hand and wrist movements: Engaging in hobbies or jobs that require repetitive movements can trigger de Quervain tenosynovitis.