De Quervain Tenosynovitis is a condition that causes pain on the side of the wrist at the base of the thumb. It is caused by an inflammation in the tendons of the thumb, specifically, the extensor pollicis brevis and the abductor pollicis longus.
Often, this condition occurs in patients whose daily activities include repetitive movements with their wrist/thumb in radial deviation. For example, golfers, musicians and office workers may present with DeQuervain. This condition is also known as mother’s thumb as it is common in new mothers from lifting/holding their babies frequently and placing stress at the thumb side of the wrist.


  • Mild to severe pain at the thumb that has gradually increased with time
  • Occasional radiation of pain to the side of the wrist and forearm
  • Possible swelling
  • Limited thumb movements and strength
  • Pain may be aggravated with
  • Repetitive lifting
  • Picking something up, opening jars (i.e. gripping motions)
  • Turning the wrist downward in direction of the little finger
  • Making a fist

What to do with these symptoms

If you present with these symptoms, it is important to consult with a physiotherapist to help in reducing pain, risk of compensations and the prevention of recurrence. Treatments include exercises to mobilize and strengthen the hand, wrist and elbow, splinting/taping, the use of modalities and manual therapy. For new mothers, physiotherapists can guide you on ways to lift and feed your baby differently.

References: (2020). Mommy Thumb: 5 ways to Ease the Pain. Retrieved on November 22, 2020 from
Physiopedia (2020). De Quervain’s Tenosynovitis. Retrieved on November 22, 2020 from