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What are the effective conservative treatments for De Quervain's Disease?

De Quervain's Disease, also known as De Quervain's Tenosynovitis, is a condition that causes pain and inflammation in the tendons that run along the thumb side of the wrist. This can make it difficult to perform everyday tasks such as gripping objects or making a fist.

There are several conservative treatment options for De Quervain's Disease, which can be effective in reducing pain and inflammation.

Several factors can contribute to the development of De Quervain's Disease, including:

Repetitive motions

Repetitive motions of the thumb and wrist, such as gripping, grasping, or pinching, can put pressure on the tendons and cause inflammation. This is common in people who engage in activities that involve a lot of hand and wrist movement, such as playing musical instruments, working on a computer, or performing manual labor.

Trauma or injury

A direct injury to the thumb or wrist, such as a sprain or strain, can cause inflammation in the tendons and lead to De Quervain's Disease.

Rheumatoid arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis, a chronic autoimmune disorder, can cause inflammation in the tendons and lead to De Quervain's Disease.


During pregnancy, the body produces a hormone called relaxin, which can cause the ligaments to loosen. This can put extra strain on the tendons in the thumb and wrist, leading to inflammation and De Quervain's Disease.


Overusing the thumb and wrist by playing video games, scrolling through the phone, knitting, or crocheting for a long time can lead to De Quervain's Disease.

Effective physiotherapy treatments for De Quervain's Disease include:

Stretching exercises

These improve the flexibility and range of motion of the affected tendons and muscles.

Strengthening exercises

These are used to improve the strength of the affected tendons and muscles, which can help to reduce pain and inflammation.

Ultrasound therapy

This non-invasive treatment uses sound waves to heat the affected tendons and reduce pain and inflammation.

Ice therapy

This can help reduce pain and inflammation caused by De Quervain's Disease.

Soft tissue massage

Massaging the affected area can help to improve blood flow and reduce pain and inflammation.

Wrist splinting

A wrist splint can immobilize the thumb and wrist and reduce pain and inflammation. Education on activity modification and ergonomics: to help patients avoid the repetitive motions or overuse that can cause or exacerbate De Quervain's Disease.

It is important to work with a physiotherapist to develop an individualized treatment plan that addresses your specific needs and goals. Sometimes, a combination of treatments may be used for the best results.

The treatments include

Rest and Ice

Resting the affected hand and wrist can help to reduce inflammation and pain. Applying ice to the affected area can also help reduce inflammation and numb the area, relieving pain. Ice should be applied for 20-30 minutes several times a day.


A splint can be worn to immobilize the thumb and wrist, reducing movement and allowing the tendons to heal. Splinting can be especially effective at night when the tendons are more likely to be in a relaxed state.

Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory

Drugs (NSAIDs)

NSAIDs, such as ibuprofen, can reduce inflammation and pain. These drugs work by blocking the production of certain chemicals in the body that contribute to inflammation. However, these drugs should be taken under the guidance of a doctor, as they can have side effects and may not be suitable for everyone.

Physical Therapy

Physical therapy can help to strengthen the muscles and tendons in the hand and wrist, reducing the strain on the affected tendons. A physical therapist may also teach exercises to improve the hand and wrist's range of motion and flexibility.

Steroid Injections

Steroid injections can be used to reduce inflammation and pain. A corticosteroid medication is injected into the area surrounding the affected tendons. This can provide relief from pain and inflammation for several weeks or months. However, these injections should be used only under the guidance of a doctor, as they can have side effects and may not be suitable for everyone.


Surgery may sometimes be necessary to release the tendons and reduce pressure on them. This is usually considered only if other treatments have not been successful.

It's always best to consult a doctor or a physical therapist if you experience pain and discomfort in your wrist and thumb, especially if you suspect De Quervain's Disease. They can help determine the cause of your symptoms and recommend the best treatment for your condition.

In conclusion, De Quervain's Disease can be treated effectively with conservative treatments such as rest and ice, splinting, NSAIDs, physical therapy, steroid injections, and surgery. It's essential to consult with a doctor or a physical therapist to determine the best course of treatment for your condition.

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