DeQuervain’s disease is an idiopathic inflammation of the tendons that control movement of the thumb, also termed tenosynovitis. The tenderness or pain involved with DeQuervain’s results from the tendons and their protective coverings rubbing against the narrow passageway through which they pass, creating pain that extends from the thumb to the forearm.
Originally discovered in 1895 by a French physician who lends his name to this disorder, DeQuervain’s disease, also known as “Gamekeepers Thumb”, was found predominantly in gamekeepers that were having difficulty in moving their wrist and were experiencing dramatically impaired joint function in that same region. DeQuervain discovered repetitive motions of the work-related activities were the singular common denominator that all these patients shared. DeQuervain noticed that repetitive motions tended to cause the irritation and pressure, particularly on the thumb side of the wrist, where the tunnels and passageways for nerves and tendons are extremely narrow.
Other names for this disease include:
- Quervain Tenosynovitis
- De Quervain Tenosynovitis
- Quervain Syndrome
- De Quervain Syndrome
- Quervain Disease
- Dequervain's Disease
- DeQuervain's Release
One of the most popular alternative names is "DeQuervain's Tendonitis". Today DeQuervain’s Tendonitis often affects people whose jobs require repetitive motion and women between the ages of 30 and 50 are 8 to 10 times more likely to be the patients suffering from this disorder.
Diagnosing DeQuervain’s disease is often done initially by mechanically testing the grip of a patient and testing their level of discomfort when moving the thumb away from the hand or simply twisting the wrist.
De Quervain Tenosynovitis Treatment
The preferred method of treating DeQuervain’s is splinting the thumb and immobilizing the wrist for four to six weeks, avoiding the movements that initially caused this disorder. Anti-inflammatory medicines may be prescribed or recommended to help reduce pain and swelling. Most patients suffering from DeQuervain’s disease respond well to using a proper wrist brace support with thumb spica (or thumb splint). Surgical intervention may be necessary for patients not responding to conservative treatment.
Always check when purchasing a wrist support brace that it contains the Thumb Spica
to target the most vulnerable area to re-injury. Also, many wrist braces are compatible with an ice pack specially designed to fit in the wrist brace for added comfort and help with pain management and swelling. There are several different braces on the market, catering to every possible patient that would suffer from this disorder.