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At Slocum Center for Orthopedics & Sports Medicine, our specialty-trained orthopedic hand and wrist specialists are highly skilled in treating De Quervain’s tenosynovitis. The Slocum Center doctors are recognized throughout the Eugene area as experts in performing specialized hand and wrist procedures. That means your treatment will be performed by a team whose extraordinary base of shared knowledge and experience is virtually unmatched.

This condition, brought on by irritation or inflammation of the wrist tendons at the base of the thumb, causes the sheath around the tendon to swell, making thumb and wrist movement painful when grasping or holding objects.


De Quervain's tenosynovitis is usually caused by taking up a new repetitive activity. New mothers are especially prone to this type of tendinitis, because caring for an infant often creates awkward hand positioning. Hormonal fluctuations associated with pregnancy and nursing exacerbate the situation. A wrist fracture can also predispose a person to De Quervain's tenosynovitis, as a result of increased stresses across the tendons.


Keeping the body strong and flexible is a key to prevention. Avoid prolonged repetitive stressful movements and take frequent breaks at work if this type of activity is required.


The goal is to relieve the pain through nonoperative treatment, including resting the thumb and wrist by wearing a splint. Oral anti-inflammatory medication may be helpful. A cortisone-type of steroid may be injected into the tendon sheath. These are all intended to reduce the swelling, which typically relieves pain over time. In some cases, simply stopping the aggravating activities may allow the symptoms to go away on their own.

When symptoms are severe or do not improve, surgery may be recommended. The surgery opens the sheath to make more room for the inflamed tendons, which breaks the vicious cycle where the tight space causes more inflammation. Normal use of the hand can usually be resumed once comfort and strength have returned.

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