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De Quervain's Tenosynovitis


De Quervain's Tenosynovitis

De Quervain’s tenosynovitis, also known as De Quervain’s syndrome, is a painful condition that affects the tendons on the thumb side of the wrist. It is the result of a wear-and-tear process that leads to inflammation and irritation of the tendons that run through a narrow tunnel (i.e., tendon sheath)

This condition typically develops as a result of repetitive motions of the wrist and hand, such as texting, typing, gripping, and holding objects for prolonged periods. Researchers found that this condition is more common in women than men.

On this page, we will discuss some common causes and risk factors of De Quervain’s tenosynovitis, then switch gears to the clinical presentation of this disease. After that, we will see what the scientific literature says about the role of chiropractic care in the management of De Quervain’s Tenosynovitis.

What are the causes and risk factors of De Quervain’s Tenosynovitis?

The inflammation that triggers De Quervain’s tenosynovitis is caused by a number of factors, including overuse of the wrist and hand, as well as a few underlying medical conditions.

Here are some of the common causes and risk factors associated with De Quervain’s tenosynovitis:

Repetitive motions

This is the most common cause of De Quervain’s tenosynovitis. It often occurs in individuals who perform repetitive motions of the wrist and hand for extended periods of time. Such activities include typing, texting, playing musical instruments, and gripping objects.

Inflammatory Arthritis

People with inflammatory arthritis, such as rheumatoid arthritis, are at a higher risk of developing De Quervain’s tenosynovitis. This is due to the high levels of proinflammatory cytokines circulating around the joints and tendons.


Pregnant women are more likely to develop De Quervain’s tenosynovitis due to a significant increase in volume and the swelling that follows.

Unmodifiable risk factors

Age is a considerable risk factor for De Quervain’s tenosynovitis. For instance, middle-aged people are at a higher risk of this condition. Another unmodifiable risk factor is gender, where the incidence of this disease is higher in women relative to men.


A direct injury or trauma to the wrist and hand can also cause inflammation and irritate the tendons, leading to De Quervain’s tenosynovitis.

Individual anatomy

Some individuals may have a naturally smaller or tighter tendon sheath, which can increase the risk of inflammation of the tendons.

What are the signs and symptoms of De Quervain’s Tenosynovitis?


Pain at the base of the thumb is the most common symptom of De Quervain’s tenosynovitis. Patients describe the pain as sharp, which worsens by activities that involve gripping, pinching, and twisting motions.


Edema (i.e., swelling) around the base of the thumb is another common symptom of De Quervain’s tenosynovitis. You may feel that the area is warm and red as well.

Difficulty moving the thumb

Individuals with De Quervain’s tenosynovitis may experience difficulty moving the thumb, especially when making a fist or grasping objects.

Clicking or snapping sensation

Some individuals may experience a clicking or snapping sensation when moving their thumb or wrist.

Numbness or tingling

In some cases, De Quervain’s tenosynovitis can cause numbness or tingling in the thumb and hand.


Finally, patients report weakness in the thumb, which can make it difficult to perform day-to-day tasks.

How do chiropractors help with De Quervain’s Tenosynovitis

Chiropractic care is a viable option for managing the symptoms of De Quervain’s tenosynovitis. Chiropractors may use several ways, including manual therapies, physical modalities, and lifestyle modifications.

For example, chiropractic adjustments and soft tissue manipulation may help reduce pain and inflammation associated with De Quervain’s tenosynovitis. A study found that patients who received chiropractic care experienced significant improvements in pain, grip strength, and range of motion. Another study also confirmed these findings, reporting that patients experienced notable clinical improvement after a few sessions of chiropractic care. These findings suggest that chiropractic care may be an effective alternative to conventional medical treatments for managing the symptoms of De Quervain’s tenosynovitis.

Your chiropractor may also use some physical modalities, such as ultrasound therapy and electrical stimulation, to improve your symptoms. Luckily, there is plenty of evidence to support this. In one study, researchers found that patients who received ultrasound therapy and electrical stimulation had significant improvements in grip strength and range of motion.

Aside from these treatments, chiropractors may also recommend lifestyle modifications to help manage the symptoms of De Quervain’s tenosynovitis. For example, they may recommend ergonomic modifications to reduce strain on the affected wrist and hand. They may also recommend exercises and stretches to improve the range of motion and strengthen the affected muscles.

A classic study concluded that patients who received chiropractic care and followed a home exercise program experienced significant improvements in their musculoskeletal conditions.

What to expect during your visit?

During a chiropractic exam, your practitioner will take a thorough medical history and perform a physical examination to assess your range of motion, muscle strength, and any areas of tenderness or inflammation. They may also perform diagnostic imaging such as X-rays or MRI scans to confirm the diagnosis and rule out any other underlying conditions.

Once the diagnosis of De Quervain’s Tenosynovitis is confirmed, the chiropractor can provide a range of conservative treatment options to alleviate pain and improve joint function. Chiropractic adjustments and soft tissue therapies can help reduce inflammation and improve circulation to the affected area.

Moreover, chiropractic care can also provide a holistic approach to managing De Quervain’s Tenosynovitis by addressing any underlying spinal misalignments or postural imbalances that may be contributing to the condition. This can help prevent future flare-ups and improve overall musculoskeletal health.

Takeaway message

Chiropractors can substantially help in mitigating the symptoms of De Quervain’s Tenosynovitis. There is plenty of scientific evidence to support the effectiveness of chiropractic care in the management of this disease.

We hope that this article successfully highlighted how our spine clinic could help you control the symptoms of De Quervain’s Tenosynovitis.

If you want tailored advice for your specific case, feel free to contact us through this link (insert).