What is De Quervain’s Tendonitis?

De Quervain’s tendonitis, also called de Quervain’s tenosynovitis, is characterized by inflammation around the thumb tendons. Tendons are cords of strong tissue that connect your muscles to your bones. When you squeeze a muscle, tendons pull on the bones that they are attached to move them. There are two tendons that connect the thumb to the wrist. Normally, tendons will slide easily through a tunnel of tissue known as a sheath. With de Quervain’s tendonitis, swelling or thickening of the sheath around the thumb tenons causes extra friction when the thumb and wrist are used.

There are many possible causes of this condition, including overusing the thumb or wrist, health conditions that cause inflammation, repetitive gripping for a hobby or work, or getting hit on the thumb or wrist.

Common symptoms of de Quervain’s tendonitis include:

  • Pain in the wrist on the same side as your thumb.
  • Swelling.
  • Stiffness or numbness in the thumb.
  • A snapping or popping sensation in the wrist when the thumb is moved.

Treatment Options

De Quervain’s tendonitis can be diagnosed by a healthcare provider during a physical exam. A physical motion test known as the Finkelstein test may also be used. Further testing such as X-rays may also be recommended for accurate diagnosis.

Non-Surgical Treatment

The main goal of treatment will be to decrease inflammation and reduce pain while the thumb tendons and their sheaths heal. Common non-surgical treatments may include:

  • Wearing a brace or splint.
  • Icing the wrist.
  • Avoid overusing the wrist.
  • NSAIDs.
  • Corticosteroids.
  • Stretches and exercises to increase wrist strength and flexibility.


While most people with de Quervain’s tendonitis do not require surgery, this may be an option for those who have not responded to other non-surgical treatment options. This outpatient procedure involves cutting the sheath around the thumb tendons, which gives the tendons extra space to move.

Questions were answered and visual aids as needed regarding the surgery I had had. I liked the corn meal treatment very much. Soothing to the hand.


Schedule a Consultation

Portland plastic surgeons Dr. Keith C. Neaman, Dr. Pete Tsai, and Dr. Dustin Christiansen have extensive training and experience in the treatment of DeQuervain’s Tendonitis. To schedule your personal consultation, please call Neaman Hand Surgery at 844-338-5445; left untreated, the pain may persist leading to decreased grip strength and pinch strength.

Accessibility: If you are vision-impaired or have some other impairment covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act or a similar law, and you wish to discuss potential accommodations related to using this website, please contact our Accessibility Manager at 971-701-6847.

Contact Us