- A dictionary of medical eponyms

Finkelstein's test

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A test for diagnosing de Quervain’s disease, or snapping thumb syndrome. This is a test you can perform on yourself: Bend your thumb into the palm and grasp the thumb with the fingers. Now bend your wrist away from your thumb. Pain over the tendons to the thumb suggests the problem may be DeQuervain's tenosynovitis.

According to Keith Graham, UK, this description of Finkelstein's test is inaccurate: "You have descibed it as almost everyone else describes it, except for Finkelstein himself. If you try the test as it is on your site, then most people would have de quervains tenosynivitis.

What Finkelstein actually described is holding the patient's thumb in neutral and then passively, sharply ulnar deviating their wrist. If you try this your false positive will go away! The test on your site was a misinterpretation by Leao in 1958 which seems to be the source of the mistake, it is possible that people find the original 1930 article too difficult to get hold of."


  • H. Finkelstein:
    Stenosing tendovaginitis at the radial styloid process.
    The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, 1930, 12: 509-540.
  • L. Leão:
    De Quervain’s disease; a clinical and anatomical study.
    The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery. American Volume, 1958; 40: 1063-1070.

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