De Quervain’s

De quervain's Dec15th 2020

What is De Quervain’s Tenosynovitis and do I have it?

Are you experiencing pain below the base of your thumb? Does this pain increase when you tuck your thumb into a fist and tilt that fist down? If so – it’s likely that you have developed De Quervain’s Tenosynovitis.

Why do I have De Quervain’s Tenosynovitis?

De Quervain’s may develop as a result of overuse or strain to the tendons that extend and abduct the thumb. With overuse or strain, the sheath at the base of the thumb, where these tendons glide throughout, becomes inflamed and painful. Activities such as gardening, tennis, and/or picking up babies and children are commonly associated with De Quervain’s as these activities require radial deviation – or bending the wrist sideways towards the thumb.

How can I manage De Quervain’s Tenosynovitis?

The pain associated with De Quervain’s is intensified with wrist movements, specifically ulnar deviation – or bending your wrist towards the pinky. Pain increased most with this movement because the inflamed tendons that extend and abduct the thumb are being stretched and pulled.

Don’t lose hope – our Doctors of Physical and Occupational Therapy can help!

We would love to assist you with conservative treatments to prolong your functioning and reduce the likelihood of surgical intervention.

Exercises for De Quervain’s Tenosynovitis:

Below are a few exercises you can start doing NOW, before you schedule an appointment with one of our skilled doctors of physical therapy and/or occupational therapy:

Cross Friction Massage over Muscle Belly/Tendons:

Gently push into the tissues at the base of your thumb. Move your fingers around until you find the area that is most tender. Begin with applying a gentle force into the tissues and rubbing back and forth (not up and down the arm) and increase intensity as able. Do this several times throughout the day.

Ice Massage:

Freeze water in a plastic/dixie cup. Rub the ice over the same area referred to above for 5-10 minutes.


Rest is SO important for these tissues to fully heal. To best allow these tissues to rest – a prefabricated orthotic, that puts these tendons in a relaxed position should be worn. You’ll find the product on Amazon under “Thumb Spica Orthotic”

*If you are experiencing pain as a result of De Quervain’s Tenosynovitis – please give ProTailored Physical Therapy a call today at 260-739-0300!