De Quervain's Tenosynovitis

  • Medical Author:
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

  • Medical Editor: John P. Cunha, DO, FACOEP
    John P. Cunha, DO, FACOEP

    John P. Cunha, DO, FACOEP

    John P. Cunha, DO, is a U.S. board-certified Emergency Medicine Physician. Dr. Cunha's educational background includes a BS in Biology from Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, and a DO from the Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences in Kansas City, MO. He completed residency training in Emergency Medicine at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center in Newark, New Jersey.

What is the treatment for de Quervain's tenosynovitis?

Treatments for de Quervain's tenosynovitis includes any combination of rest, splinting, ice, anti-inflammation medication, and/or cortisone injection. Cortisone injection is extremely effective and is generally the optimal treatment. Normal activity may be resumed within three weeks after an injection. Surgery to release the tendon sheath is only rarely necessary and usually reserved for persisting inflammation after failure of at least one cortisone injection.

Are there home remedies for de Quervain's tenosynovitis?

De Quervain's tenosynovitis can initially be treated with home remedies, including cold packs, resting, and over-the-counter medications, such as ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil) and naproxen (Aleve). Care must be taken to avoid reinjuring the strained tendon at the wrist. For example, young mothers must be very careful about lifting their children without straining the involved side of the wrist.

What is the prognosis with de Quervain's tenosynovitis?

The prognosis for de Quervain's tenosynovitis is excellent. The patient can generally return to full function after the inflammation quiets down with treatment. Sometimes bracing is used during future activities that involve repetitive wrist motion.

Is it possible to prevent de Quervain's tenosynovitis?

De Quervain's tenosynovitis can be prevented by avoiding activities that stress the wrist and avoiding repetitive motion injuries.


Firestein, Gary S., et al. Kelley's Textbook of Rheumatology, 9th Edition. Philadelphia, PA: Saunders, 2013.

Wolf, J.M., and R.X. Sturdivant, and B.D. Owens. "Incidence of de Quervain's Tenosynovitis in a Young, Active Population." J Hand Surg Am 34.1 Jan. 2009: 112-115.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 8/10/2016

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