Tendonitis of the thumb



What is tendonitis ?


Tendonitis is inflammation of a tendon. Tendons are composed of fibres and join muscles to bones, ensuring joint mobility. Following repeated movements, friction of the tendon against the bone may cause some of the fibres to become worn. Micro-tears affecting these tendon fibres are accompanied by a painful inflammatory reaction. This inflammation may spread to neighbouring structures, such as the synovial sheath surrounding the tendons. Tendonitis can also be caused by repeated micro-trauma (impacts, shocks) to the tendon. The pain of tendonitis is made worse by movements and alleviated by rest.


What is tendonitis of the thumb ?


Tendonitis of the thumb is an inflammation of the synovial sheath surrounding the tendons joining the thumb to the wrist (at the "anatomical snuff box"). It is caused by an activity involving repeated use of the thumb (often work-related) with a certain amount of force (opening and closing movement when using scissors or secateurs).

It is also known as "De Qervain's disease" or "De Qervain's tenosynovitis".


Orthopaedic treatment


The aim of an orthopaedic solution is to relieve pain (analgesia) and to rest the tendon by preventing movements of the wrist and thumb. The wrist is held in a neutral anatomical position thanks to a custom-made heat-mouldable splint or a standard wrist-thumb splint or brace.

Without treatment, the pain becomes intolerable, with local swelling, preventing normal use of the hand. However, to prevent recurrences of the problem, in addition to medical treatment and possibly physiotherapy sessions, it is also necessary to consider an adjustment of usual habits or work activities.





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