What is De Quervain’s Tenosynovitis?

De Quervain’s Tenosynovitis is the swelling of 2 tendons near the wrist that attach to the base of the thumb. The swelling causes the sheaths (casings) covering the tendons to become inflamed. This then places pressure on neighbouring nerves causing pain and numbness. You may also feel pain radiating up your forearm and a catching or snapping sensation with the movement of the thumb.



This condition is most commonly caused by overuse of the wrist and thumb. It can be simple tasks such as lifting a child into a seat or working in the garden that can aggravate and cause this. It is also associated with pregnancy, breastfeeding, people with rheumatoid arthritis and women in their 40s and 50s.

Treatment Options

De Quervain’s Tenosynovitis is treated by reducing the swelling/irritation of the tendons and tendon sheath to reduce pain.                         

This can be done through:

  • Hands on treatment from your osteopath.
  • Bracing.
  • Pain killers.
  • Activity modification whereby you avoid the activities that cause pain and swelling.
  • Corticosteroid injection.
  • Shockwave machine. 
  • There is also a surgical option if symptoms are severe or do not improve with the conservative treatment stated above.


Your osteopath can also provide you with rehabilitation exercises to mobilise, reduce pain, strengthen and stabilise your thumb and wrist to help heal this condition and to prevent potential flare ups in the future.

Download our patient information sheet on De Quervain’s Tenosynovitis

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