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DeQuervain’s Tendinitis

DeQuervain’s Tendinitis causes a painful tendinitis on the thumb side of the wrist.  Two tendons travel through a compartment (the first dorsal compartment) and friction causes inflammation in this area.   This can be aggravated by thumb and wrist motion.  The cause is unknown in many cases, but is usually due to overuse.  It is also commonly seen in pregnant and nursing mothers.


The first dorsal compartment tendons become inflamed and painful




Usually DeQuervain syndrome can be treated without surgery.  A combination of the below treatments can be utilized to provide resolution of the symptoms.

Splinting – This can help calm down the irritated tendons.

Anti-inflammatories – As long there is no previous history of stomach ulcers, this is an ideal adjuvant treatment.  In order to obtain the anti-inflammatory effect of the medications, they should be taken routinely for a period of time.

Steroid injections – These can be very helpful in treating this problem by decreasing inflammation and decreasing pain.




Occasionally, conservative treatment does not work.  A relatively straightforward surgery is a very viable option in most cases.  The sheath surrounding these tendons is released through a small incision that is less than 1 inch in length.  This can be done under general anesthesia or under local anesthesia utilizing Wide Awake Hand Surgery techniques.

Diagrams modified from ASSH (



155 E Sonterra Blvd, Suite 211
San Antonio, Texas 78258
Phone: (210) 494-9600
Fax: (210) 494-9601


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