Tenosynovitis/trigger fingers/De Quervain’s disease

The term 'tenosynovitis' includes conditions associated with inflammation and swelling of the tendon, the synovium (the lubricating fluid that surrounds the tendon) or the tendon sheath (the tunnel through which the tendon passes). 

Symptoms can include localised pain and swelling in the area of the tendon, and reduced movement if the normal glide of the tendon becomes restricted.  These symptoms can lead to difficulty with functional use of the hand, such as gripping objects and completing work related activities.

Common conditions include:

  • DeQuervain's
  • Trigger finger/trigger thumb
  • Wrist flexor/extensor tendonitis

Treatment is usually conservative (non-operative).  Conservative management focuses on resting the affected area for a number of weeks before gradually building up movement and strength.  Treatment may include the provision of a custom-made splint, ultrasound, and heat or ice to settle the inflammation.

Graded exercise is slowly re-introduced along with activity modification to prevent recurrence of symptoms.

Corticosteroid injections may be recommended by your hand surgeon in addition to the treatment outlined above.

In more severe cases or cases failing to settle surgical release and debridement of the tendon may be required.

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