De Quervain’s Tendinitis (Mommy Thumb)

Hand Surgeon Mark E. Pruzansky, MD and Jason S. Pruzansky, MD can help you experience less pain and recover quicker from hand, wrist and elbow surgery through minimally invasive surgery techniques. Call our Concierge Services at 212-249-8700 to schedule your appointment.

What is De Quervain’s Tendinitis (a.k.a Mommy Thumb)?

De Quervain’s Tendinitis is a condition involving constriction and inflammation of swollen tendons at the wrist near the base of the thumb.  A couple of the tendons that move your thumb pass though a narrow tunnel (sheath) at the wrist before going into the thumb.  When the tendons become irritated and swollen, the tunnel becomes excessively tight and leads to further discomfort.  The condition is named after a Swiss surgeon, Dr. Fritz de Quervain, who first identified the problem in 1895.

Symptoms of De Quervain’s Tendinitis

Pain, tenderness, and swelling are common.  Twisting the wrist and forcefully using the thumb usually causes aggravation of the pain.

Common Causes of De Quervain’s Tendinitis

The condition likely is the result of a genetic predisposition that presents in perimenopausal, pregnant, and post-partum women, though men can also suffer from it.  Activities that involve repetitive and forceful twisting of the wrist and thumb may lead to developing the condition as well, making De Quervain’s Tendinitis common in musicians, and racket sport and fly fishing enthusiasts.  The symptoms of De Quervain’s Tendinitis may arise in patients from adolescence on.

Diagnosing De Quervain’s Tendinitis

Speaking with you to understand the location of your pain and what aggravates it is important to make the diagnosis.  A careful physical exam is essential too.  An x-ray will evaluate for other possible sources of pain involving the bones and joints of the wrist.

Treatment Options for De Quervain’s Tendinitis

The condition may respond well to splinting, rest, icing, anti-inflammatory medication, and steroid injection.  In severe or chronic cases, surgery may be recommended to relieve the constriction on the tendons and allow the inflammation to resolve.  This surgery is minimally invasive and generally allows for a quick recovery.


De Quervain’s Tendinitis is common and can make use of your hand and wrist difficult and uncomfortable.  Call Dr. Pruzansky at 212-249-8700 to schedule an appointment and relieve the pain.