What is DeQuervains Syndrome

Repetitive strain injury is actually a type of ‘umbrella diagnosis. There are many different kinds of repetitive strain injuries that one may develop as a result of the overuse of one part of the body or another. In this article, well focus on the form of repetitive strain injury known as DeQuervains syndrome so that you can better understand the problem that it poses as well as how to obtain relief from it. Its a type of repetitive strain injury that occurs in the wrist and the thumb, and like most repetitive strain injuries, it is often easily eliminated.

Radial Styloid Tenosynovitis

DeQuervains syndrome is a problem that goes by many names. Some refer to it as a ‘washerwomans sprain. Its also known by a more medical name, radial styloid tenosynovitis. Some refer to it as DeQuervains disease, but whatever you call it, the syndrome is characterized by an inflammation around the tendons that are located inside of the thumb.

There are two tendons that are affected in the syndrome, and they are located within the extensor pollicis brevis and the abductor pollicis longus muscles. These two tendons give us the ability to raise and lower our thumbs, and when the sheaths that contain the tendons become inflamed, which are known as synovial sheaths, the afflicted person will feel pain and have noticeable swelling of the thumb and/or the wrist.


In order to diagnose a case of DeQuervains syndrome, doctors often ask the patient to perform a relatively simple motion. The patient is asked to make a fist with the thumb on top, and then tilt the wrist towards the pinky finger side of the hand. If the patient experiences pain from this motion, they likely are afflicted with DeQuervains syndrome. This test is known as Finkelsteins test, and it is the standard for diagnosing the syndrome.


DeQuervains syndrome can be caused by any repetitive motions that involve the thumb, most commonly the use of the thumb when typing on a computer or typewriter. When it comes to treating DeQuervains, patients are often asked to stop using the thumb in a repetitive manner to allow it an opportunity to heal on its own. Some physicians may recommend splints in order to keep the motion the thumb participates in to a minimum.

Non-steroidal anti inflammatory drugs may also be prescribed as to decrease the inflammation of the sheaths, and consequently the paint that it causes. By discontinuing the repetitive motions of the thumb and using anti-inflammatory drugs to ease the inflammation, most cases of DeQuervains can be easily eliminated.

More advanced cases of DeQuervains may merit the injection of steroids into the affected area. In the most extreme and untreatable cases of DeQuervains syndrome, surgery may be necessary to fully ease the problem.

Now that you know more about DeQuervains syndrome, how you can diagnose it and how you can treated, youll be better suited to dealing with the problem should it arise in you or someone that you love. If you think that you may have DeQuervains syndrome, you may want to speak to a doctor in order to get proper medical advice regarding the situation.