De Quervain’s tenosynovitis(Mommy Thumb)

radial styloid tenosynovitis

De Quervain’s syndrome is a painful condition that affects tendons where they run through a tunnel on the thumb side of the wrist. 


  • Pain and/or swelling on the thumb side of the wrist, near the base of your thumb. 
  • Tenderness if you press on the site of pain.
  • Clicking or snapping of the tendons occurs occasionally
  • If the condition goes too long without treatment, the pain may spread further into your thumb, back into your forearm or both.
  • Pinching, grasping and other movements of your thumb and wrist aggravate the pain. 


  • Chronic overuse of your wrist is commonly associated with De Quervain’s tenosynovitis. Tendons are rope-like structures that attach muscle to bone. When you grip, grasp, clench, pinch or wring anything in your hand, two tendons in your wrist and lower thumb normally glide smoothly through the small tunnel that connects them to the base of the thumb. Repeating a particular motion day after day may irritate the sheath around the two tendons, causing thickening and swelling that restricts their movement.
  • Direct injury to your wrist or tendon; scar tissue can restrict movement of the tendons.
  • Inflammatory arthritis, such as rheumatoid arthritis.

 Treatment options are:

  • Immobilizing your thumb and wrist, keeping them straight with a splint or brace to help rest your tendons.
  • Avoiding repetitive thumb or wrist movements as much as possible.
  • anti-inflammatory drugs, oral or topical. 
  • Steroid injection.
  • Surgical decompression of the tendon tunnel.

De Quervain’s syndrome is not harmful, but it can be a really painful nuisance. Mothers of small babies seem particularly prone to it, but whether this is due to hormonal changes after pregnancy or due to lifting the baby repeatedly is not known. This condition is also called mommy thumb or mommy wrist. 

The resourses of this post are The British Society for Surgery of the Hand and Mayo Clinic