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De Quervain's disease

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A hand and wrist disorder with chronic tenosynovitis due to a narrowing process in the tendon sheaths around abductor policis longus and extensor pollicis brevis muscles. This disorder usually occurs after repetitive use of the wrist. The main symptom is aching pain on the thumb side of the wrist and at the base of the thumb, which becomes worse with movement. There is also swelling and tenderness. In adults, in addition to the thumb, other fingers may be involved; in children, limited to the thumb. Adults report a snapping phenomenon in the distal interphalangeal joint. More frequent in adults (prevalent in females) than in children (equal sex distribution); insidious onset.

The Finkelstein test is used to make the diagnosis. See under Finkelstein.


  • F. de Quervain:
    Über eine Form von chronischer Tendovaginitis.
    Correspondenz-Blatt für Schweizer Aerzte, Basel, 1895, 25: 389-394.
    English translation:
    On a form of chronic tendovaginitis.
    Journal of hand surgery, St. Louis, 2005, 30 (4): 388-391.
We thank Patrick Jucker-Kupper, Switzerland, for information submitted.

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