DeQuervain's Tenosynovitis is a condition that affects the tendons on the thumb side of the wrist. Inflammation between the tendon sheaths (the abductor pollicis longus (APL) and extensor pollicis brevis (EPB)) and the overlying pulley (or retinaculum) prevents the tendons from gliding smoothly in the first dorsal compartment during flexion and extension (Moore).
This condition is the most common tendinitis of the wrist in athletes (especially in golf, crew, baseball, and racquet sports). Unfortunately, it is particularly common among new mothers, hence its colloquial name "Mommy's Wrist" (Shehab et al.; Anderson et al.). The repetitive actions involved in caring for a newborn, such as lifting and holding the baby, carrying car seats, and positioning during breastfeeding, can contribute to the development of this condition.
The hallmark of DeQuervain's Tenosynovitis, include symptoms of pain, swelling, and difficulty moving the thumb and wrist. The pain can be worse with gripping or pinching, and as the condition progresses simple tasks become intolerable, including typing, texting, opening doors, and carrying a large Dunkin iced.
Typically DeQuervain's Tenosynovitis can be diagnosed using a clinical examination. If the pain can be reproduction when the tendons are passively stretched then this is considered a positive Finkelstein’s test, and can indicate DeQuervain's Tenosynovitis.
A diagnostic ultrasound at the initial visit can confirm the diagnosis by visualizing both a thickened extensor retinaculum (2-6x the normal thickness) and inflammation around the tendons and pulley (Lee et al.). Additionally, an ultrasound can assess for variations in the anatomy that may affect treatment (Volpe et al., Choi Et al.; Rousset et al.; Zaino et al.).
Initially, conservative treatments attempt to address inflammation and reduce overuse. include over the counter oral medications (Acetaminophen, Ibuprofen, Naproxen, etc), topical anti-inflammatories (diclofenac gel), thumb spica splints, and physical therapy, but evidence suggests that the most effective treatment is an ultrasound guided corticosteroid injection.
An ultrasound guided injection allows the medication to be precisely injected around into the tendon sheath and around the extensor retinaculum, without puncturing the tendon fibers themselves or the nearby superficial radial nerve.
Ultrasound-guieded steroid injections are effective in 83-97% of cases, and can be a first line treatment (Blood et al.; Ashraf et al.; Peter-Veluthamaningal et al.; Dande et al.; Jeyapalan et al.; McDermott et al.).
Surgery may be recommended if symptoms are severe or do not improve with non-operative management. The goal of surgery is to release the tendon sheath to make more room for the irritated tendons.
When corticosteroid injections don't resolve pain, an ultrasound-guided release of the first dorsal compartment release that can spare patients from traditional surgery surgery (Colberg et al.; Beidleman et al.). Ultrasound-guided release of trigger finger and carpal tunnel syndrome have results equal to or greater than surgery (Eberlin et al).
Similar to trigger finger releases, ultrasound-guided DeQuervain release is performed using imaging guidance to direct a Nokor needle to release the overlying extensor retinaculum, with only local anesthesia, minimal or no scar, and recovery in 2-3 days.
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DeQuervain tendinopathy often is self-limiting and resolves with conservative management. Corticosteroid injection often can provide complete relief with one or two injections, but if symptoms fail to improve or recurRead More