De Quervain's Tenosynovitis

Tendons are strong, flexible bands that connect muscles to bone. De Quervain's tenosynovitis is a condition affecting the tendons on the thumb side of your wrist. Normally, these tendons glide easily through a tunnel-like sheath or covering with a lining that lubricates the area. When this lining becomes inflamed (tenosynovitis), the sheath swells and becomes narrower. As a result, friction is created when the tendon moves, leading to inflammation and pain - the condition known as de Quervain's tenosynovitis.

Take a five-minute break every hour from repetitive wrist movements, such as typing, to avoid the inflammation, pain and swelling of tenosynovitis.

Although it is not always clear why the tendon sheath becomes irritated, the condition is frequently linked to repetitive activities that overwork the wrist. Hand positions that compromise wrist alignment and place stress on the joint can also cause this problem, which is often seen in women after pregnancy.

You may experience swelling and pain on the thumb side of the wrist with the discomfort sometimes extending up the forearm. Any movement of your wrist, thumb or hand usually aggravates the pain. Your thumb may "pop" or "catch" as the tendon forces its way through the narrow sheath.

Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and the history of the problem. You will be asked to move your wrist and hand into different positions as the area is examined.