dequervains tenosynovitis

This type of tendonitis affects the tendons at the base of the thumb and wrist. It commonly occurs from a blow to the wrist or from repetitive strain of the thumb and wrist tendons. It is also common among new parents as a result of lifting and caring for an infant.

Tendonitis has three phases:

Acute Phase: You’ll experience full-time inflammation, swelling and pain. This phase requires rest and often immobilization in a splint. Sometimes your health care professional will recommend taking anti-inflammatory drugs and applying ice, depending on your level of pain and inflammation. Your physiotherapist may apply modalities such as ultrasound and electrotherapy to reduce pain and swelling. With appropriate management this phase typically resolves in 1-2 weeks.

Recovery Phase: The inflammation and pain start to subside, but specific movements remain painful. Your hand therapist will prescribe specific exercises to restore movement and start strengthening, and may use manual treatment and other modalities. Depending on the degree of stiffness and how long the acute phase was, recovery phase will typically resolve in 2-4 weeks.

Strengthening Phase: Many people stop caring for their tendinopathies in this phase, since most of the pain has resolved. However, some weakness remains, so exercising to strengthen the gaps in your strength will help prevent recurrence. Many tendinopathies recur because people don’t strengthen following the painful phases. Tendinopathies will not become chronic if you continue to strengthen gradually and return to your regular activities as prescribed. In this phase, your hand therapist will create a home exercise program for you to address these strength deficits and restore your range of motion. Typically strengthening will take 2-6 weeks depending on how longstanding the weakness was.

Please note that the information on this page is for reference only and not a substitute for medical advice. If you have a hand injury or condition that requires treatment, please see your physician or hand therapist for an assessment.