Treatment Options For De Quervain's Tenosynovitis

Posted on

De Quervain's Tenosynovitis is a painful inflammatory condition that affects the wrist and thumb. If you've been diagnosed with the condition, your doctor likely recommended you rest your hand, but sometimes rest isn't enough. If you're still unable to find relief from your symptoms, you may want to consider one of the below treatment options:

Physical therapy

Physical therapy is a common form of treatment for De Quervain's Tenosynovitis. Around 80% of patients experience relief from symptoms after two to four months of physical therapy. Your therapist may recommend a custom-built splint in order to immobilize your wrist, allowing it to rest properly. Ice and anti-inflammatory medication may also be used between physical therapy sessions to help decrease pain.

Physical therapy for De Quervain's typically involves massage to relieve pain and stimulate healing, as well as various thumb stretches. Your therapist may also train you in the stretches and massage techniques used in the office, so that you're able to perform them yourself at home.

Steroid injections

Steroid injections are another option for those with De Quervain's. Typically, injections are used when more conservative treatment, such as physical therapy, was unsuccessful. Steroids do carry with them some potential risks. A temporary increase in pain, and discoloration around the injection site are possible. However, steroid injections are usually an effective way of treating De Quervain's. In one review of 35 different articles and studies on the condition, steroid injections had the highest success rate of any form of treatment, at 83%.

In one study, patients were injected with a steroid mixture in two spots along the wrist, instead of the traditional single injection. Around 89% of participants receiving the double injections experienced symptom relief.


If physical therapy and steroid injections fail, the next course of action is usually surgery. Pain from De Quervain's is due to compression of tendons and nerves in the wrist and thumb. A surgeon may be able to expand the tunnel that houses the tendons, reducing the compression and providing pain relief.


For those looking for alternatives to traditional treatment options, acupuncture may be worth considering. Acupuncture involves the insertion of very thin needles into various pressure points throughout the body. Although it has its roots in Eastern medicine, many western doctors recognize acupuncture as a legitimate way to treat many conditions.

Although the effect of acupuncture on De Quervain's specifically has not been studied, acupuncture has been shown to help in related conditions such as osteoarthritis. It can help reduce inflammation, giving the body a chance to heal.

If you're struggling to find relief from pain brought on by De Quervain's tenosynovitis, talk to your doctor about exploring different types of treatment. To learn more, contact a company such as St. Luke's Rehabilitation with any questions or concerns you have.