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A Definitive Guide To De Quervain’s Tenosynovitis or Texting Thumb


Do you feel pain at the base of your thumb every time you move your wrist? Do you ever think if you have taken your thumb for granted? We have just asked these questions to properly understand the symptoms of the disease known as De Quervain’s disease. Here is a guide that can help you deal with De Quervain’s Tenosynovitis, also known as texting tenosynovitis at the pace of your home.

What is De Quervain’s Tenosynovitis?

De Quervain’s Tenosynovitis, otherwise known as first dorsal compartment tenosynovitis, texting thumb, or blackberry thumb, is a medical condition that causes pain in your thumb muscles due to swelling. The area of pain is felt at the base where the thumb meets the palm. The pain slowly rises as the swelling of the muscles starts to rub against the thin compartment as they pass through it. Next, the pain rises upwards of the lower arm. Holding and turning your wrist becomes even harder as the pain grows stronger if not taken care of properly. Therefore, using your hand, thumb, and wrist becomes more difficult.


De Quervain’s disease is also known as the first dorsal compartment tenosynovitis. The two main muscles located on the base of the thumb side of the wrist cross a narrow tunnel causing friction and resulting in pain. Muscles are rope-like structures that connect flesh to the bone. An oily layer of thin, soft tissue, known as synovium, covers muscles. This layer lets the muscles move smoothly through a fibrous first dorsal compartment called a sheath. Any swelling of the muscles or thickening of the covering results in augmented friction and pain with thumb and wrist movements.

What are the causes?

De Quervain’s disease, also known as texting thumb, occurs due to medical reasons, including arthritis. It is known as texting tenosynovitis or blackberry thumb because of the overuse of the phone for continuously texting. Research also suggests that people aged 40 and above are more likely to get affected. And a wrist injury makes it even worse. However, it is also be linked with new moms, pregnancy, and osteoarthritis of the thumb.


  • Pain near the thumb side of the wrist
  • Feeling of pain in the wrist travelling up the forearm
  • Pain that grows with the wrist and thumb movement
  • inflammation at the thumb side of the wrist sometimes occurs with a fluid-filled cyst in the area.
  • A catching or snapping feeling is observed while moving your thumb
  • Swelling and pain that makes it difficult to move the thumb and wrist

To check whether you have De Quervain’s disease, first dorsal compartment tenosynovitis, your physician will ask you about your complete medical history when you feel pain in the wrist and ask you to describe the symptoms and conduct some physical examination.

Reducing swollen muscles at home

To get rid of texting thumb, you need to minimize swelling. You can do this at home with ice, as it cools down the muscles and decreases swelling. This further relieves the pain at the same time. Buy an ice pack and put it on the affected area for 15 minutes. Remove it for another 15 minutes, then repeat the pattern.

This method helps in reducing the inflammation and the movement of the thumb. This leads to a faster recovery in the treatment process.

You may also require a wrist splint, including a thumb tape, to lessen the compression and irritation to the muscles at the wrist; however, you can visit a health practitioner for better understanding.

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