Dequervain's Release

What Is It?

DeQuervains syndrome is when the two tendons that move your thumb become thickened.  These two tendons lie together in a small compartment in the outer part of your thumb, just below your wrist. The changes are due to excessive thumb and wrist movement which creates friction, irritation and swelling of the tendons and their supporting sheath. It is usually associated with repetitive activity.   It is also common after having a baby when new forces through your thumb and wrist occur with lifting your baby. DeQuervains Release (surgery) involves releasing the first dorsal compartment so there is more space for the tendons to move.

What May I Experience?

  • localised tenderness over the scar on your wrist
  • swelling at the base of your thumb
  • initial difficulty with lifting,  pinching, & gripping
  • irritation/ hypersensitivity of radial nerve

What Should I Do

You need to wear a custom made splint to rest the tendons for ten days the the sutures will be removed. During therapy you will learn how to look after your dressing, scar and regain your strength.  Six weeks of therapy is usually required to educate you on ways to alter activities that may aggravate the injury and provide you with a stretching and strengthening programs.

What Can I Expect?

After ten days, a full return to normal work duties is expected.   It is not advised to drive whilst wearing a splint.

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