De Quervain tenosynovitis is inflammation of the tissue that connects and moves your thumb away from your fingers (tendon). This condition, also known as Blackberry thumb or gamer’s thumb, causes pain and swelling in the bottom of your thumb and the side of your wrist. There is no exact cause for de Quervain tenosynovitis, but activities that require repetitive hand or wrist movement seem to play a role. Symptoms of this condition include pain and swelling near the base of your thumb and difficulty moving your thumb and wrist.
Overuse of the wrist, direct injury to the wrist, and inflammatory arthritis can all increase the chance of developing de Quervain tenosynovitis. Risk factors include age (people between 30 and 50 years of age are more likely to develop de Quervain tenosynovitis), being a pregnant woman, and being involved in a job that requires repetitive wrist movements. If left untreated, the pain may spread to other parts of your thumb and forearm and you may have difficulty with using your hand and wrist. Your doctor will likely perform an examination along with the Finkelstein test, which involves bending your thumb onto your palm, wrapping your other fingers over your thumb, and bending your wrist toward your little finger. If this movement causes pain on the thumb side of your wrist, you likely have de Quervain tenosynovitis. Treatments include medications to reduce pain, corticosteroid injections to reduce swelling, physical therapy, occupational therapy, or, if the symptoms are severe enough, surgery to fix the cause of the inflammation. Catching de Quervain tenosynovitis early will make recovery quicker. Contact your doctor to discuss the most current treatment options.