|CRDAMC Homepage | CRDAMC Library Phone #: (254) 288-8366 | CRDAMC Library Fax #: (254) 288-8368|
De Quervain Tenosynovitis
(De Quervain Syndrome; De Quervain Disease; Washerwoman’s Sprain)
Pronounced: DEE-KUR-vains TEE-no-SIGH-no-VY-tis
by Cynthia M. Johnson, MA
De Quervain tenosynovitis is an irritation of tendons that run from the wrist to the thumb. These tendons pass through a tunnel-like tissue, called a sheath, at the wrist. The tunnel area can cause additional pressure and irritation on thickened or swollen tendons, making normal movements painful.
De Quervain is caused by pressure on already irritated tendons as they move through the sheath at the wrist. The irritation of the tendon may be caused by repetitive movements of the thumb and wrists or a direct blow to the area.
Risk Factors TOP
De Quervain tenosynovitis is more common in women. Activities that may increase your chance of getting de Quervain tenosynovitis include:
Symptoms may include:
You will be asked about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done. You will be asked to move your fingers and wrists in different ways to help make the diagnosis. Your may be asked to make a fist with your thumb inside your fingers and bend your wrist toward your little finger. If this causes pain at the wrist below your thumb, you may have de Quervain tenosynovitis.
The goal of treatment is to relieve pain and help you regain function. Supportive care may include:
If supportive care is not helpful, then cortisone injections may be advised to reduce swelling. If injections are not helpful, then surgery may be advised to open the tunnel that the tendon passes through.
To help reduce the chances of getting de Quervain:
American College of Sports Medicine
OrthoInfo—American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons
Canadian Orthopaedic Association
Canadian Physiotherapy Association
Best treatment for de Quervain's tenosynovitis uncertain. Am Fam Physician. 2003;68(3):536.
Corticosteroid injection for treatment of de Quervain's tenosynovitis: a pooled quantitative literature evaluation. J Am Board Fam Pract. 2003;16(2):102-106.
de Quervain syndrome. Merck Manual for Health Care Professionals website. Available at:
...(Click grey area to select URL)
Updated November 2016. Accessed March 26, 2018.
de Quervian tendinitis (de Quervian tendinosis). Ortho Info—American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons website. Available at:
...(Click grey area to select URL)
Updated December 2013. Accessed March 26, 2018.
De Quervain’s tenosynovitis. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.... Updated April 28, 2017. Accessed March 26, 2018.
Johnson CA. Occurrence of de Quervain's disease in postpartum women—pain and tenderness in wrist. J Fam Pract. 1991 Mar;32(3):325-327.
4/30/2014 DynaMed Plus Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.dynamed...: Petit Le Manac'h A1, Roquelaure Y, Ha C, Bodin J, Meyer G. Risk factors for de Quervain's disease in a French working population. Scand J Work Environ Health. 2011 Sep;37(5):394-401.
Last reviewed March 2018 by EBSCO Medical Review BoardTeresa Briedwell, PT, DPT
Last Updated: 4/30/2014
EBSCO Information Services is fully accredited by URAC. URAC is an independent, nonprofit health care accrediting organization dedicated to promoting health care quality through accreditation, certification and commendation.
This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.
To send comments or feedback to our Editorial Team regarding the content please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Our Health Library Support team will respond to your email request within 2 business days.