Published On: Wed, Mar 28th, 2018

De Quervain Syndrome – The Wrist Injury that Refuses to go!

Tagged with: | | | |

In this chronic wrist article, we introduce to you De Quervain Syndrome and talk about the De Quervain Syndrome treatment and .

Are you suffering from chronic wrist pain for no apparent reason? Do you think that your regular pain relief ointments are not giving you relief? Then you might be suffering from a serious wrist condition known as De Quervain Syndrome! Find out more about De Quervain Syndrome causes and De Quervain Syndrome treatment by scrolling down.

What is De Quervain Syndrome?

which is a painful condition in the wrist caused by the overuse of the thumb and the wrist in sideways motion. Also called as de Quervain disease and other names, de Queravain tenosynovitis comes under repetitive injury. A person suffering from this condition experiences severe pain and tenderness in the tendons along the thumb side of the affected wrist. This wrist problem is particularly bothersome when the affected person tries to grip an object or anything, struggles to form a fist or when twisting or turning the wrist.

Why this Wrist Injury Condition is Called De Quervain Syndrome

Way back in 1895, a Swiss surgeon, Fritz de Quervain brought this wrist injury condition to limelight by publishing five case reports of patients suffering from tender, thickened first dorsal compartment at the wrist. Since then, the condition has come to be known as De Quervain tenosynovitis or in his honor.

De Quervain Syndrome Wrist Band With Splint

De Quervain Syndrome Splint/Wrist Band With Splint

Other Names for De Quervain Syndrome

BlackBerry Thumb

Frequent tapping and repeatedly pressing of buttons on like Blackberry and others cause a repetitive stress injury known as De Quervain Syndrome. It is also informally referred to as ‘BlackBerry Thumb’.

De Quervain Disease

This painful inflammation of the two wrist-extending tendons that join the thumb and the arm is commonly called as the De Quervain Disease.

De’s Stenosing Tenosynovitis

Due to the overuse of the wrist and the thumb in a sideways position, the tunnel that carries the two thumb tendons become narrow or contract. This is because of the inflammation and swelling of the tendon sheath which restricts the movements of the tendons and causing pain. Such a condition is called as De’s Stenosing Tenosynovitis or more precisely as the De Quevrvain Syndrome.

Gamer’s Thumb

Are you an avid gamer? Then watch out for the ‘Gamer’s Thumb’ which is nothing but another term for the De Quervain Syndrome. As gaming involves frequent tapping of buttons and awkward wrist movements to control the joysticks at great speeds, there is potential risk of getting a Gamer’s Thumb.

Mommy Thumb

De Quervain Syndrome is famously nicknamed as ‘Mommy Thumb’ as this condition is quite prevalent among new mothers.

Mother’s Wrist

Wondering why De Quervain Syndrome is called as ‘Mother’s Wrist’? Well it is because this condition potentially affects new mothers who constantly lift their infants using the wrong wrist technique and also while cradling the babies with a bent wrist for a long period of time.

Radial Styloid Tenosynovitis

The two tendons connecting the thumb and the wrist go through a canal called as the tendon sheath which when inflamed causes difficulty in free movement of the tendons. This condition is called Radial Styloid Tenosynovitis which is also known as the De Quervain Syndrome with the pain felt in a radial fashion along the wrist.

Texting Thumb

Did you know that constant texting or playing video games on your smartphone, laptop and other devices can lead to a repetitive stress injury called as ‘Texting Thumb’ which is nothing but another name of De Quervain Syndrome.

Washerwoman’s Sprain

Today this painful wrist condition is called as De Quervain Syndrome. However, for more than 100 years, this condition has come to be known as the ‘washerwoman’s sprain’. Typically women who professionally wash clothes, develop this condition because of the constant twisting of the wrist.

De Quervain Syndrome Causes


Watering the plants, hoeing and similar activities that put strain on the wrist

Playing a Musical Instrument

Violin, guitar and many other instruments that require repetitive wrist motions

Knitting and Embroidery

Constant gripping of knitting needles and using tread in same motion repetitively


Chopping or repetitive movement of wrists while stirring the food


Using hammer or manual saws

Taking a Pet for Regular Walks

Sudden stretching and pulling of the leash to control the pet


Wrong ergonomics due to small keyboard or constant texting on smartphones and tablets

House Cleaning/Dish Washing

Scrubbing dishes or mopping with repetitive wrist motions


Any sport that require continuous gripping and slashing

De Quervain Syndrome Symptoms

When the wrist becomes painful, especially while turning or twisting, gripping or any other normal day-to-day activities which use sideways wrist motions – all these are De Quervain Syndrome symptoms. Stop the activities which you think are causing the wrist pain and see for a few days if the pain subsides. If it doesn’t then it is time to visit a physiotherapist.

De Quervain Tenosynovitis Test – Finkelstein’s Test

When you suffer from chronic wrist pain, pay a visit to your nearest and reliable physiotherapist. You will be subjected to a simple test to determine whether your wrist pain is because of the De Quervain Syndrome or not. Lasting just a few seconds, the De Quervain Syndrome Test which is technically called as the Finkelstein’s Test has your physiotherapist holding your thumb tightly and turning the wrist to the right towards the little finger. If you feel a sharp pain radially along the wrist, then you are most likely suffering from the De Quervain Tenosynovitis.

De Quervain Syndrome Treatment

Once your physiotherapist has diagnosed you with the De Quervain Syndrome, it is time for the treatment to begin which includes possibly 7-day physiotherapy. Using ultrasound massage therapy and also electrotherapy (iontophoresis) it is possible to reduce the inflammation of thumb tendons. If the patient does not respond to De Quervain Syndrome physiotherapy treatment, then the next option is to take a cortisone injection which comes with its own side effects and is expensive also. And even if this cortisone injection fails for De Quervain Tenosynovitis, then the last option is to go for tendon repair surgery. The sooner you start the treatment, the better as De Quervain Syndrome can be treated in the early stages. As part of De Quervain Syndrome rehabilitation program, your physiotherapist will recommend wrist exercises and use of a wrist brace with thumb splint.

Related posts