De Quervain’s Tenosynovitis

De Quervain's Tenosynovitis (Thumb Pain)

De Quervain's Tenosynovitis (also known as De Quervain's Syndrome, or Mommy's Thimb) is a condition that affects the tendons that run along the wrist and thumb. It is caused by inflammation in the sheath that surrounds these tendons, resulting in pain, swelling, and limited movement of the wrist and thumb.

De Quervain's is also commonly known as “Mommy's Thumb" as it is approximately 10 times more common in women than men. In fact, it is estimated that 50% of new mothers experience De Quervain's due to carrying their child.

Symptoms of De Quervain's Syndrome

Pain and tenderness at the base of the thumb

Swelling and inflammation in the wrist below the thumb, and the thumb area

Limited movement of the wrist and thumb as the condition progresses

A popping or snapping sensation when moving the wrist and thumb

Weakness in the hand and thumb


De Quervain's Tenosynovitis can occur due to a variety of factors, including:

Overuse or repetitive strain on the wrist and thumb: It is common for patients to develop De Quervain's following a sudden increase in thumb-heavy activities (carrying, computer typing, golf, racquet sports, bowling, rowing or canoeing, playing the piano or guitar etc.)

Direct, acute injury to the wrist and thumb (such as a fracture)

Certain conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes and hypothyroidism that can cause inflammation in the tendons

How Can Physiotherapy Help De Quervain's Tenosynovitis?

Physiotherapy can play a crucial role in managing the painful symptoms of De Quervain's Tenosynovitis and help clients return to full mobility. The goals of physiotherapy treatments are to:

Relieve pain and inflammation

Improve range of motion in the wrist and thumb

Strengthen the muscles surrounding the wrist and thumb

Provide advice and education on managing the condition outside of our clinic

Assessment and Diagnosis

In conjunction with medical history taking, our physiotherapists will perform a series of diagnostic tests to determine the severity of your condition and the factors contributing to it. These tests will also help determine the best course of treatment.

Generally, the assessments may include:

Medical history and physical examination

Assessment of wrist and thumb range of motion, muscle strength, and flexibility

Assessment of functional activities, such as gripping and pinching. For example, the Finkelstein test is frequently used to help diagnose De Quervain’s Tenosynovitis

Physiotherapy Treatment for De Quervain's

Once our physiotherapists have assessed the situation, they will customise a treatment plan to help you recover faster and return to full mobility.

We use a range of physiotherapy methods to treat De Quervain’s and other hand/wrist conditions, including:

Range of motion exercises to improve wrist and thumb mobility

Strengthening exercises to improve muscle strength and stability

Manual therapy techniques to improve mobility and reduce pain

Education on ergonomics and posture to reduce strain on the wrist and thumb

Advice on using proper body mechanics during activities that involve the wrist and thumb

Need Help?

If you have been experiencing symptoms of De Quervain’s Syndrome. or any pain in the hand or wrist pain for some time, consult your physiotherapist for a differential diagnosis. If left untreated, the symptoms can worsen and may actually lead to damage. In these serious cases, surgery may be the only treatment option.

Our experienced physiotherapists can provide personalised care to help you manage your symptoms and improve your thumb and wrist function.

Contact our clinics today to book your appointment or for more information.

Wellington Street Clinic:
Tel: (852) 2530 0073
WhatsApp: (852) 5542 0407

Jardine House Clinic:
Tel: (852) 2715 4577
WhatsApp: (852) 5422 3760

You may also book your appointment online through the link below:

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