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Surgery for De Quervain’s disease (also known as ‘washerwoman’ strain or blackberry/gamer thumb) is explained in this document. If you have any questions about this procedure, it is best to contact a member of your professional healthcare team or speak to your GP.
Wrist and thumb pain with a swelling at the base of the thumb are typical symptoms of De Quervain’s disease. This is caused when the fibrous roof of the tunnel through which the two thumb tendons pass has thickened. This restriction means their passage is difficult, hence the pain and possible difficulty with moving the joint – with the thumb sometimes locking into position.
De Quervain’s disease
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Relief from the pain caused by this disease.
Rest or restricting the overnight movement of the wrist and thumb can help the condition. Anti-inflammatory medicines and physiotherapy can also lessen the pain. A steroid injection into the thumb base is also successful for the majority of people.
This process is usually carried out in about half an hour under general anaesthetic.
A small incision at the base of your thumb gives the surgeon access to the thickened fibrous tunnel – the site of the De Quervain’s disease – which is then cut to allow the tendons an easier passage.
General complications for any operation may include the following:
Specific complications of this operation may include the following:
Painful movement of your wrist and thumb with a sensitive swelling below the thumb indicates De Quervain’s disease. Surgery relieves pain when steroid injections have failed.
EIDO Healthcare Limited – The operation and treatment information on this website is produced using information from EIDO Healthcare Ltd and is licensed by Aspen Healthcare.
The information should not replace advice that your relevant health professional would give you.