De Quervain’s Tenosynovitis

De Quervain’s is a condition that makes thumb and wrist movements painful. The thumb side of the wrist can be
swollen and very tender. As the affected tendons cross the wrist they pass through a tunnel, this can become
thickened from inflammation and cause pain as the tendons pass through on movement. This can be caused by
repetitive jobs or tasks, a new hobby, previous trauma, or it may gradually appear with no remarkable cause.
The aim of therapy is to reduce the pain and inflammation, this is done by resting the tendons involved and the
joints they cross.

Babies and De Quervain’s Carers of babies and young children (Often mothers and grandmothers) commonly experience De Quervain’s Tenosynovitis. This condition often persists until the baby starts walking. It therefore needs to be managed for 6 – 9 months. Initially a soft splint made by your hand therapist may allow the symptoms to settle. If symptoms persist one of the next treatments to consider is a Cortisone injection which will provide relief (By Doctor).

Measures to control the condition and prevent recurrence include:
• Avoid picking up your baby with thumb extended. Try scooping your baby up
with your forearm.
• Try to keep your wrist in mid position when holding your baby
• Try carrying your baby in a sling
• Support the baby on a pillow when feeding. If you are having difficulty establishing feeding due to your
wrist/thumb pain your Baby Health Centre may be able to assist with positioning ideas.
• Choose clothing for yourself and your baby that have minimal fasteners
• Consider using disposable nappies

De Quervain’s Tenosynovitis Therapy

A thermoplastic splint is worn full time for approximately four to six weeks. The splint can be removed for

Exercises should not be completed if painful and should be performed gently.
• Move wrist backwards and forwards.
• Touch thumb tip to each fingertip.
• Make a fist.
• Exercises will be upgraded according to symptoms.

Once the pain and inflammation is settled, activities that you know are aggravating should be completed less often, be modified or be avoided.

A soft splint can be worn for activities that are known to cause problems and can’t be avoided. If conservative management does not help relieve symptoms you may be referred back to your doctor.