De Quervain’s Disease

Definition - What does De Quervain’s Disease mean?

De Quervain's disease is a condition where there is an inflammation of the tendons of the wrist nearest the thumb. These tendons are encased and normally glide smoothly within synovial sheaths when healthy. While not proven beyond a shadow of a doubt, repetitive tasks are thought to contribute to the development of de Quervain's disease. Once inflammation occurs, movement of the afflicted digits is restricted and causes pain and swelling. The condition may also be referred to as de Quervain's tendinosis, de Quervain's stenosing tenosynovitis, radial styloid tenosynovitis, mother's wrist, mommy thumb, washer woman's syndrome or gamer's thumb.

WorkplaceTesting explains De Quervain’s Disease

De Quervain's disease was initially identified by Dr. Fritz de Quervain in 1895. The unusual nature of its other names stems from the fact that the condition is more prevalent in women than men. New mothers are especially susceptible to developing de Quervain's disease due to swelling caused by excess fluids retained during pregnancy.

Researchers suspect that repetitive motions that involve gripping, bending the wrist, lifting, pinching, or assuming an awkward wrist posture may also contribute to the development of de Quervain's disease. However, studies have yet to establish a clear causal link.

Symptoms of de Quervain's disease include pain and swelling on and around the thumb, particularly at the base of the thumb. Sufferers may also experience stiffness and the inability to lift or grasp objects with the affected hand. Soreness and swelling may advance into the wrist or forearm in some instances. De Quervain's disease is treated through the administration of anti-inflammatory medications, physical therapy and occupational therapy.

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