What is De Quervain’s Syndrome?

De Quervain’s syndrome is a painful condition that can lead to pain on the thumb side of the wrist. Often, the condition can occur without any obvious cause. While frustrating and painful, there are treatment options available. Here’s everything you need to know about De Quervain’s syndrome. 

De Quervain’s Syndrome 101

Those with De Quervain’s syndrome tend to feel pain when they turn their wrist, grasp, or make a fist. The condition affects the tendons on the thumb side of the wrist. So, a lot of the pain is focused near the thumb. 

Your tendons run through a tunnel on the thumb part of the wrist. De Quervain’s syndrome affects these tendons, as you can see in the image below. 

De Quervain Syndrome Anatomy

What Causes De Quervain Syndrome? 

There is some mystery behind De Quervain syndrome. In a lot of cases, there isn’t an obvious cause for the condition. However, new mums tend to be more prone to the condition. But it’s not certain whether it’s because of the changes in hormones after pregnancy or because of the repeated lifting that comes with a newborn. 

Symptoms of De Quervain’s Syndrome 

As the condition affects the tendons on the thumb side of the wrist, you may experience pain here. Other symptoms include: 

  • Tenderness or pain around the site
  • Occasional clicking or snapping of the tendons 
  • Pain especially when your lift the thumb 

Does De Quervain’s Tendonitis Go Away? 

Typically, De Quervain’s syndrome doesn’t go away on its own without treatment. But the good news is that if you start treatment early enough, symptoms may improve within 4 to 6 weeks. In other cases where the condition started during pregnancy, symptoms are more likely to end at either the end of pregnancy or breastfeeding. 

However, in patients where the condition has developed more gradually, it can be more difficult to manage. It can take longer for symptoms to improve and to regain better motion in the thumb and wrist, in general.  

De Quervain’s syndrome usually responds nicely to treatment, with many people not needing surgery. But even the patients who need surgery tend to experience a high success rate. The important thing to remember is that De Quervain’s syndrome does require treatment. It’s not something that will clear up on its own. If left untreated, the condition can get worse.  

De Quervain’s Syndrome Treatment at The Harley Clinic 

The goal of De Quervain’s tendon release surgery is to ease the pressure on the tendon on the thumb side of the wrist. Non-surgical treatment options include: 

  • A splint to keep the wrist straight and thumb comfortable, especially at night. 
  • Adjusting activties to avoid ones that cause pain. 
  • Corticosteroid injections 
  • Anti-inflammatory medication to reduce swelling 

If a non-surgical approach offers no improvement, surgery may be recommended. If you’re experiencing De Quervain’s syndrome and would like to talk about your options, book a consultation today at The Harley Clinic. 

We offer a range of hand surgery to treat various conditions, including carpal tunnel syndrome, trigger finger, and Dupuytren’s contracture

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