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De Quervain’s syndrome

What is De Quervain’s syndrome?

De Quervain’s syndrome (also known as De Quervain’s tenosynovitis) is a painful condition that affects the tendons on the thumb side of the wrist. The condition makes it difficult to make a fist, turn your wrist or grasp anything, while the pain is made worse by repetitive movements, such as playing golf or racquet sports.

What causes De Quervain’s syndrome?

The exact cause of De Quervain’s syndrome is not known but it is often linked to chronic overuse or injury. Two tendons in your wrist and lower thumb normally glide through a smooth tunnel that connects them to the base of the thumb. When the tendons are used repeatedly to make the same motion the sheath that lines them may become irritated, causing it to swell and thicken. This can restrict their movement and cause pain. The condition is also linked to direct injury to the wrist or tendons and rheumatoid arthritis, both of which can restrict the movement of tendons in the wrist.

De Quervain’s syndrome is most common in women between the ages of 30 and 50 and may be associated with pregnancy. It can be made worse by lifting a baby repeatedly using your thumbs as leverage and by jobs that involve making repetitive movements with the hands or wrists.

De Quervain’s syndrome

Hand and wrist consultants

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