Dequervians Tenosynotivis


On the back of the wrist, there are structures called dorsal or extensor compartments, which house all of the tendons that extend the wrist and fingers. The first dorsal compartment is on the thumb (radial) side of the wrist and houses two tendons, the Abdudctor Pollicis Longus (APL) and Extensor Pollicis Brevis (EPB), both of which control the thumb. Repetitive motions of the thumb can cause inflammation of these tendons, which causes pain on thumb movement. This has a nickname of “Mommy Wrist” or “Mommy Thumb” because many new moms have this condition from repetitive lifting of their baby.


  • Injury to wrist from a direct blow or fall
  • Forceful thumb abduction and wrist ulnar deviation movements like opening a jar
  • Overuse injury from repetitive activities such as lifting a baby, gardening, racket sports, and video games
  • Inflammatory conditions like Rheumatoid arthritis or Osteoarthritis


  • Swelling or pain at the base of the thumb or in wrist, directly over two tendons and first dorsal compartment
  • Pain with passive flexion (bending) of the thumb
  • Pain with active extension and/or abduction of the thumb
  • Difficulty with everyday activities like caring for your baby, washing dishes, or getting dressed


  • Avoid repetitive movements
  • Take frequent rest breaks
  • Wear a thumb/wrist splint

Diagnostic Tests

  • The most diagnostic test is Finkelstein’s test. This is performed by the examiner (doctor or therapist) bending your thumb across your palm, then bending your other fingers on top of your thumb, and finally moving your wrist towards your little finger. If there is pain near the base of your thumb, you have a positive Finkelstein’s test and Dequervain’s
  • Assessing for tenderness in your wrist near the base of your thumb (over the 1st dorsal compartment)

Medical Treatment

  • Splinting
  • Anti-inflammatory medications
  • Cortisone injections
  • Surgical release, if conservative treatment fails
  • Rest

Hand Therapy Interventions

  • Activity modification
  • Modalities such as paraffin, ultrasound, infrared laser for pain relief
  • Ice/Ice Massage
  • Massage
  • Custom splinting, including thumb and wrist, to prevent repetitive deforming motions
  • Exercises to stretch or glide tendons
  • Strengthening, once pain and inflammation has improved
  • Home exercise and education on modifying activities, range of motion, massage, and splinting
  • Kinesiotaping

Wrist Injuries

Dequervian's Tenosynovitis 


Wrist Sprain


Ganglian Cysts


TFCC Injury

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