What we’ll cover
  1. What is De Quervain’s Tenosynovitis ?
  2. Causes of De Quervain’s Tenosynovitis:
  3. Common wrist pain symptoms:
  4. Some examples of activities that may highlight pain or weakness include:
  5. What Physiotherapy can do for you?
  6. What does Physiotherapy for wrist pain involve?

De Quervain’s Tenosynovitis is a common cause of pain on the thumb side of the wrist.  Physiotherapists are able to thoroughly identify, assess and treat wrist pain.  If you are experiencing wrist pain, call us today or book online.  

wrist pain

What is De Quervain’s Tenosynovitis ?

De Quervain’s tenosynovitis is a common condition that causes pain on the thumb side of the wrist.  It affects two tendons of the thumb:

  1. The abductor pollicis longus (APL)
  2. Extensor pollicis brevis (EPB).


The APL and EPB tendons travel side by side along the inside edge of the wrist. They then pass through a tunnel several centimetres before the wrist. The tunnels role is to hold the tendons in place during wrist and thumb movements. Lining the tunnel is a slippery coating which allows the two tendons to glide easily back and forth as they move the thumb. Inflammation of this coating and tendon is called known as tenosynovitis.

In de Quervain’s tenosynovitis, the inflammation constricts the movement of the tendons within the tunnel.

Causes of De Quervain’s Tenosynovitis:

Most commonly caused due to cumulative trauma from activities that require repetitive wrist and or thumb movements. Holding your hand at an angle to your wrist creates a compression point that excessively rubs the two tendons which intern leads to the inflammation.

Repeated hand and thumb motions include:

  • Grasping
  • Pinching
  • Squeezing
  • Wringing

Common wrist pain symptoms:

  • Pain, swelling, and or weakness on thumb side of your wrist.
  • Pain often present dropping wrist towards little finger i.e hand shake or coffee cup position.

Some examples of activities that may highlight pain or weakness include:

  • Opening jars
  • Wringing the hands
  • Cutting with scissors
  • Playing the piano
  • Sewing, needlepoint or knitting
  • Lifting newborn
  • Carrying teapot or pouring kettle

What Physiotherapy can do for you?

Most cases of De Quervains tendonitis settle well with appropriate physiotherapy. A key component of physiotherapy in the initial stages is identifying aggravating movements and activities to limit, modify or avoid.

Activities which place large amounts of stress through the thumb tendons should be minimized to ensure that the body can break the cycle of continual aggravation and damage to begin the healing process.

Prompt and appropriate treatment is essential to ensure a speedy and an optimal recovery. Ignoring symptoms or adopting a ‘push through’ or ‘no pain, no gain’ attitudes is likely to lead to the problem becoming chronic (long term). Once the condition is chronic, the bodies healing capacity slows significantly resulting in a dramatically longer and more challenging recovery, as well as an increased likelihood of future recurrence.

What does Physiotherapy for wrist pain involve?

The chief aim of physiotherapy intervention is to enhance gliding of the APL and EPB tendons in the first dorsal compartment.

Early on the use of tape or a brace, regular icing, and Anti-inflammatory medication are utilised to reduce pain and swelling.

Shortly after the acute few days of onset manual (hands on) and exercise therapy is initiated to assist in return to hasten healing times, improve function and begin to return the patient to former functional activities. This may include: massage, joint mobilisation, dry needling, stretches, and strength exercises

In the final stages of rehabilitation, a gradual return to activity or sport is guided by the treating physiotherapist.

If you are experiencing wrist pain which could be caused by De Quervain’s tenosynovitis, see our physiotherapists for assessment and treatment by calling us or booking online.

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Last week we were fortunate enough to head back to uni and refresh our anatomy knowledge at @latrobeuni in the anatomy labs. 

Thank you to the Latrobe School of Physiotherapy for inviting us! Last week our team celebrated another great year. 

Whilst Melbourne’s weather had its own plans, we were still determined to keep with the theme of ‘Italian Summer’. We let our hair down to master the art of mixology 🍸🍹followed by an Italian feast. Friday morning Run Club with the team. Practicing what we preach!

Staying stronger, healthier and happier. This time last week, our team was nervously completing their final preparations for @melbmara . 

Congratulations to our physiotherapists and ME community who ran on the day.

Dilen and Michael completed their first marathons. Abbey and Lizzie smashed out their first half. Last Sunday, our team headed down to see our own Matt Warren win a premiership in the VAFA Premier Men’s Competition. Last week our team dedicated a full day to professional development and team building. At ME Physio we pride ourselves on collaboration to put you at the centre of everything we do. 

Our team covered the latest treatments for back pain, financial well-being and finished off the day with salsa dancing. 

Many thanks to our guests including James Schomburgk from @the2ndvisitphysio , Financial Planners Tony Vikram & Cameron Bishop and the @salsafoundation At ME Physio, our focus is on helping you get stronger so that you can keep doing the things you love.

For Tony and Joan, healthier and stronger is being able to navigate the iconic Coast to Coast Walk in the UK! We recently had the pleasure of hosting Elise Bujor from Women’s & Men’s Health Physiotherapy to discuss women’s health issues across the lifespan. 

Our team pride themselves on staying up to date to ensure you’re able to stay healthier, happier and stronger. Huge milestones over the past few weeks with both Tom and Jude from @delasallefc doing their first bit of running in their rehab. 

Tom is on the return from an ankle dislocation whilst Jude is putting in the hard work following a knee reconstruction. Last week our team enjoyed some friendly rivalry at the footy. 

With finals around the corner, some of our team can now safely make holidays plans for September. We recently had the pleasure of hosting the podiatry team from @sespodiatry. 

Our physiotherapists Michael and Abbey presented on rehabilitation following Achilles surgical repair and ankle surgery. Last weekend some of our team got together to complete the 10 km run @runmelbourne. There was no finish line picture as some were keen to run another 15 km!

Whilst running wasn’t for some - brunch was well received by everyone.

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