De Quervain's Tenosynovitis Specialist

David Galpern, MD -  - Board Certified Hand and Upper Extremity Surgeon

Comprehensive Hand Surgery Center

David Galpern, MD

Board Certified Hand and Upper Extremity Surgeon located in West End, Richmond, VA

Is moving your thumb or hand painful? If so, it could be a sign of de Quervain's tenosynovitis, a tendon condition that’s treatable with the right care. At Comprehensive Hand Surgery Center in the West End of Richmond, Virginia, David Galpern, MD, and his team specialize in treating tendon conditions such as de Quervain’s tenosynovitis. Dr. Galpern’s goal is to restore you to optimal health with treatments like cortisone shots that offer permanent relief for most people. Find out how the practice can help you by calling or scheduling a consultation online today.

De Quervain's Tenosynovitis Q & A

What is de Quervain’s tenosynovitis?

De Quervain's tenosynovitis, also called radial styloid tenosynovitis, is a common condition caused by irritation to the tendons running along the side of your wrist. Tendons are rope-like structures connecting your muscles and bones. Tendons in your wrist run through a tunnel, but with de Quervain’s tenosynovitis, the tunnel becomes too narrow or your tendons take up too much space in the tunnel.

When you have this condition, moving your thumb or hand can be painful and making twisting or grasping motions can aggravate your condition. For some, de Quervain’s tenosynovitis is a mild condition that flares up from time to time, but for others, it’s more severe.

What causes de Quervain’s tenosynovitis?

Although doctors aren’t sure what causes this condition, it can be triggered by performing an activity you’re not used to doing such as making a side to side motion with your wrist or repeatedly lifting an object.

Certain factors can increase your chances of getting de Quervain’s tenosynovitis. These include:

  • Gender: the condition is more common in women
  • Age: the condition is more likely between ages 30-50
  • Being pregnant: pregnancy may trigger the condition
  • Caring for a baby: making repeated lifting motions that use your thumbs, such as lifting a baby, may be linked to the condition

Jobs or activities that require repetitive wrist and hand motions may provoke de Quervain's tenosynovitis as well.

What are the symptoms of de Quervain’s tenosynovitis?

The symptoms of de Quervain’s tenosynovitis are generally concentrated around your wrist or the base of your thumb. You may:

  • Experience pain or swelling near the base of your thumb
  • Find it hard to move your wrist or thumb when you’re doing a task involving pinching or grasping
  • Feel a "sticking" sensation in your thumb when you try to move it

Without treatment, pain from this condition may eventually spread to your forearm.

How is de Quervain’s tenosynovitis treated?

For mild symptoms, Dr. Galpern may prescribe an anti-inflammatory medication. A cortisone shot into the sore area may give you temporary or lasting relief from your symptoms. For two-thirds of people with de Quervain’s tenosynovitis, one to two cortisone shots provide permanent relief.

If your condition is more severe, Dr. Galpern may discuss surgery as an option. For most people, surgery helps them get back to doing the things they love. About 1 in 5 people have complications from surgery, such as numbness on the back of their hand.

If you’re ready to be free of the symptoms of de Quervain’s tenosynovitis, call or book a consultation online today at Comprehensive Hand Surgery Center.