Pain over the thumb-side of the wrist is the main symptom. The pain may appear either gradually or suddenly, and pain is located at the first dorsal compartment (see Figure 1, 1A) at the wrist. Pain may radiate down the thumb or up the forearm. Hand and thumb motion increases pain, especially with forceful grasping or twisting. Swelling over the base of the thumb may include a fluid-filled cyst in this region. There may be an occasional “catching” or “snapping” when moving the thumb. Because of the pain and swelling, motion such as pinching may be difficult. Irritation of the nerve lying on top of the tendon sheath may cause numbness on the back of the thumb and index finger.
Frontera WR, Silver JK, Rizzo TD Jr. Essentials of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation: Musculoskeletal Disorders, Pain, and Rehabilitation . 2 nd ed. Philadelphia, PA: Saunders Elsevier Publishers; 2008:129-132.
De Quervain’s tendinitis: MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia . Accessed May 12, 2014.
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