DeQuervain’s tendonitis is a common form of tendonitis affecting the wrist. DeQuervain’s is treated by Dr. Peter G. Fitzgibbons, MD at The Centers for Advanced Orthopaedics: Maryland Orthopedic Specialists Division. Dr. Fitzgibbons performed fellowship-training in hand, wrist, and elbow surgery through the Harvard Hand & Upper Extremity Fellowship based at Brigham & Women’s Hospital in Boston. With locations in both Germantown and Bethesda, Maryland, he and a team of orthopaedists, hand therapists, and physical therapists offer a comprehensive range of services covering the diagnosis and treatment of Dequervain’s tendonitis.
Two of the tendons to the thumb run through a tunnel on the thumb side of the wrist that has a tendency to get tight in some people (classically new mothers). Once the tendons get inflamed there can be an area of swelling and tenderness in the wrist and pain with motion of the thumb.
DeQuervain’s is diagnosed with a history and physical exam. X-rays and other tests are usually not needed.
A splint that immobilizes the wrist and thumb will usually alleviate symptoms and is the first line treatment. Cortisone injection can also be used to reduce inflammation. When symptoms are not responding to conservative measures, surgery may be recommended.
Surgery for DeQuervain’s is performed as an outpatient procedure and is often done with local anesthesia. During the procedure, the tunnel that the tendons run through is opened up to provide more room. The wrist is splinted for three weeks. Dr. Fitzgibbons performs most of these procedures at the Massachusetts Avenue Surgery Center, an outpatient surgery center that provides a safe, patient- oriented experience in a friendly and comfortable environment.