What is De Quervain’s Tendosynovitis?

De Quervain’s is a tendinosis of the sheath covering the tendons attached to the thumb.

De Quervain’s and pregnancy

During pregnancy hormonal changes occur which can result in fluid retention. This can compress the tendon and sheaths going to the thumb resulting in irritation of the tendon sheath. Postnatally, mothers complete repetitive thumb movements such as breast feeding and lifting etc which can lead to irritation of the tendon sheath.


  • Pain at base of thumb
  • Swelling at base of thumb
  • Difficulty and pain with thumb movements
  • Numbness in thumb

Aggravating factors

  • Repetitive thumb movements
  • Swelling
  • Arthritis


  • Physiotherapy
  • Modify activities/decrease aggravating factors
  • Massage
  • Ice
  • Elevation
  • Splints
  • Ultrasound
  • Stretching
  • Range of motion exercises
  • Strength exercises
  • Anti-inflammatory medication
  • Cortisone injection
  • Surgery as a last resort


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