De Quervain’s Syndrome

What is De Quervain’s Syndrome?

Tendons are the tough, rope-like tissues that help your muscles move. They attach to the bones of your hand and pull them when your muscles receive a movement signal from the brain. There are many tendons in your hands and they’re easily visible when you straighten your fingers. The tendons that control the fingers run through the first extensor compartment (or the tunnel). De Quervain’s syndrome is a condition where the tunnel becomes too narrow, or the tendons become enlarged. The result is pain when grasping or twisting the hand, especially in the thumb.

Easy to talk to, always explaining everything thoroughly, and making a very nervous me, feel very comfortable.

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Dr. Avena and his staff are wonderful! Easy to talk to, always explaining everything thoroughly, and making a very nervous me, feel very comfortable. Very accommodating too! I would not hesitate to recommend them to someone! -JR

What are the Symptoms of De Quervain’s Syndrome?

The most common symptom of de Quervain’s syndrome is pain and swelling at the base of the thumb or wrist. The pain can be either dull or sharp, and typically occurs when making a pointed fist (similar to when using a hammer) where the thumb is in the fist.

What Causes De Quervain’s Syndrome?

It’s not entirely understood what causes de Quervain’s syndrome. It’s thought that repetitive movements or changes in the use of the hand can be a cause. Additionally, swelling can be a culprit, as well as hormone changes. For example, new mothers can develop de Quervain’s syndrome around 4-6 weeks postpartum.

What Treatment Options Are Available for De Quervain’s Syndrome?

It’s best to begin treatment for de Quervain’s syndrome with non-surgical treatments like splints, anti-inflammatory medications (ibuprofen), or even steroid injections. In many cases, these options can allow for healing and achieve relief. However, if these options don’t achieve results, surgery can be used to open up more space for the tendons in the wrist. The surgery is called De Quervain’s release. Your orthopedic hand specialist will discuss your best options for treatment during a consultation.

What to Expect After De Quervain’s Syndrome Treatment

In order to get long-term relief, it’s important to address the possible underlying causes of de Quervain’s syndrome. Your orthopedic hand specialist can help you understand what might be causing it and how to adjust your lifestyle and treatment accordingly. If you opt for surgery, you’ll be given detailed aftercare instructions to follow. You may need to undergo physical therapy to help regain movement, and our team can help you understand what to expect.

Schedule a Consultation at the Regional Hand Center

An orthopedic hand specialist can help you learn more about de Quervain’s syndrome and discuss your treatment options. To schedule an appointment, contact our Fresno, CA office by calling or filling out our online form.

Patient Resources

Whether you are planning a procedure or you are interested in options for treatment, the professional and caring Regional Hand Center team makes it easy to find the answers you need. For an appointment or answers to your questions, call (559) 322-HAND.

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Randi A. Galli, MD

Board-Certified Surgeon

Dr. Randi Galli is certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgeons and a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons. A member of Alpha Omega Alpha, the medical honor society that comprises the top ten percent of medical students, Dr. Galli received his Medical Degree from Tulane University School…

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Ricardo Avena, MD

Board-Certified Surgeon

Dr. Ricardo Avena is board certified by the American Board of Surgery and is a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons. Born and raised in Mexico City, Dr. Avena attended medical school at the National Autonomous University of Mexico. Upon graduation, Dr. Avena received his certification from the Educational…

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Isobel Santos, MD

Board-Certified Surgeon

Dr. Santos attended the University of California, Berkeley with a B.A in Molecular and Cell Biology with a focus on Cell and Developmental Biology. She then received her medical degree at University of Vermont College of Medicine where she was nominated to be a member of the Alpha Omega Alpha…

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