De Quervain’s tenosynovitis

What is De Quervain’s tenosynovitis?

Two of the three extensor tendons in the thumb (extensor pollicis brevis/abductor pollicis longus) run in a tunnel on the side of the wrist and may suffer tendon inflammation due to strain. These complaints must be differentiated from crossover tendinitis that occurs higher up at the top of the forearm. Both are common among manual labourers that suffer repetitive strain. In the first instance anti-inflammatory treatment with rest, physiotherapy, ice, and/or infiltration is proposed. If there is insufficient improvement or the complaints soon return, the next step involves opening the tunnel followed by reconstruction, Z-shaped widening. This effectively releases both tendons. During the operation, a deduplication of the De Quervain compartment is regained.

After the operation a compression bandage is applied and worn for two weeks. This must only be removed if any problems occur. A check up with your GP is proposed after two weeks, to remove the bandage and the stitches. Afterwards you are advised to move the thumb right away. You should expect a four-week post-operative recovery period.

This content was written by : Dr. Arne DecramerDr. Stijn Muermans, Dr. Jan Noyez, Dr. Karel Willems

More info about disorders of the Hand - Wrist - Carpal tunnel syndrome - Operation of the thumb