DeQuervain’s tenosynovitis, also referred to as mommy wrist or texting thumb, is an inflammation of the wrist tendons at the base of the thumb. The inflammation causes the tunnel around the tendons to swell, so thumb and wrist movements become painful. The disorder is associated with repetitive tasks involving the thumb and wrist. This condition is often seen in pregnancy or in patients with newborns as a result of cradling and nursing infants. Holding objects, making a fist or grabbing things with the hand cause pain.

Causes of De Quervain’s tenosynovitis

This condition often happens because of new, repeated activities using the hand. New mothers are often at risk for this tendonitis because of changes in hormones during pregnancy and cradling and nursing the new baby. People who have had a broken wrist may also be at risk.

Symptoms of De Quervain’s tenosynovitis

People with symptoms of DeQuervain’s tenosynovitis experience pain at the base of the thumb that will radiate into the wrist or lower arm. This pain will intensify by grabbing, pinching or twisting. You may also notice swelling and tenderness in the area as well as numbness on the back of the thumb and index finger.

Diagnosing De Quervain’s tenosynovitis

Your doctor can diagnose DeQuervain’s tenosynovitis with a physical exam of your hand. He or she will also ask about your health history. You may be asked to make a fist, wrapping your fingers over your thumb, then bending your wrist toward your little finger. This will cause pain if you have DeQuervain’s tendonitis.

Treating De Quervain’s tenosynovitis 

Treatment for DeQuervain’s tenosynovitis can include nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, splinting (such as with a thumb spica splint), steroid injections, ice, rest or changing your hands-on activities to decrease painful movements. Hand therapy includes ultrasound and iontophoresis (a medical device that delivers mild electrical currents). 

Surgery isn’t always necessary for this condition, but the nature of your anatomy often prevents nonsurgical treatment from being successful. If you choose to have surgery, it is an elective procedure and is dependent on your pain and preference. You can drive after surgery as long as you feel confidant and comfortable and are not taking any narcotic pain medication. Recovery time is four to eight weeks on average, with a success rate between 95 and 100 percent.

DeQuervain’s tenosynovitis may resolve on own but it can be very unpredictable. If symptoms have been present for longer than 10 months, then it is less likely for symptoms such as pain and swelling to resolve without surgery.


Why Choose Ohio State for De Quervian’s treatment?

Ohio State provides patients with expert care by board certified hand surgeons. While treating you conservatively is the mainstay of treatment, we are able to offer you surgical treatment to help resolve your symptoms and improve the quality of daily life.

Our providers who treat carpal tunnel syndrome

Share this Page