Specialist in Neck, Back & Sports Injuries

Do you suffer from De Quervain’s tenosynovitis?

What Is De Quervain’s tenosynovitis?

De Quervain’s tenosynovitis is the inflammation of the sheath, or synovium, that surrounds the two tendons that run between the wrist and the thumb.

Tendons are strong bands of tissue that attach muscles to bone. In the thumb, they are involved in moving the thumb.

As the synovium swells and thickens, it becomes painful for a person to move their thumb.

It usually occurs after the thumb or wrist has been overused, particularly during repetitive activities that move the thumb away from the wrist.

A sprain or overusing the tendons through repetitive movements of the thumb at work or during sport tend to make the swelling and pain worse.

Activities linked to De Quervain’s include:

  • golf
  • playing the piano
  • typing
  • carpentry
  • carrying a child
  • video games

The condition is more common in women than men and often happens after pregnancy.

Other causes include scar tissue formation from an injury or inflammatory arthritis.


The main symptoms are pain and swelling at the base of the thumb.

These lead to:

  • pain when moving the thumb or wrist
  • pain when making a fist
  • swelling and tenderness on the side of the wrist
  • feeling or hearing creaking as the tendons slide through the sheath
  • reduced grip strength

Movements that involve the thumb and wrist, including pinching, grasping, or wringing will make the pain worse.


Use an elastic band placed around the fingers and thumb, and open your fingers and thumb against the resistance of the band 10 times.


Resting the affected hand on the table palm up, touch the top of the thumb to your little finger. Hold the stretch for 6 seconds and perform it 10 times.


use an ice cube to massage the affected painful area to reduce inflammation.

If you feel you may be suffering from De Quervain’s tenosynovitis, book in with us here at Rainham Physiotherapy Centre by calling 01644 377638 and arrange an initial consultation! 

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