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Thumb tendonitis: everything you need to know about this pathology.

Thumb pain

Etymology and synonyms.

The term "tendonitis" has its roots in Latin. It is derived from "tendo", which means "tendon", and the suffix "-itis", which indicates inflammation. As for the thumb, it comes from the Latin term "pollex", which refers to the first finger of the hand, commonly known as the thumb.

Thumb tendinitis is also known as abductor pollicis tendinopathy, or De Quervain tendinopathy. These terms are used interchangeably to describe inflammation of the tendons located at the base of the thumb.


Thumb tendonitis is a painful condition characterized by inflammation of the tendons at the base of the thumb, specifically the abductor longus and extensor pollicis brevis tendons. This inflammation leads to pain, tenderness, and possibly swelling in the thumb and surrounding area.


Pain when moving the thumb:. Patients with thumb tendinitis experience pain when performing movements that involve the use of the thumb, such as grasping objects, twisting, or pinching.

Swelling at the base of the thumb:. Inflammation of the tendons can cause swelling in the area where they attach to the bone, causing additional discomfort.

Difficulty performing daily activities: Pain and swelling can make it difficult to perform simple tasks that require the use of your thumb, such as writing, holding objects, or rotating your wrist.


Physical exam :. A detailed physical examination allows the doctor to evaluate the tenderness, swelling, and range of motion of the thumb and wrist, providing important clues for diagnosis.

Image Tests: Ultrasounds or MRIs can confirm the diagnosis by showing inflammation of the tendons and ruling out other possible causes of wrist and thumb pain.

Functional testing:. Specific tests can be performed, such as the Finkelsteintest,which involves bending the thumb toward the palm and moving the wristtowardthe affected side, causing pain in case of thumb tendinitis.

Thumb pain

Etiology, causes and diagnoses.

Repetitive Overload:. Repetitive movements involving the thumb and wrist, such as typing on the keyboard or using hand tools, can trigger thumb tendinitis due to continued stress on the tendons.

Traumatic Injuries: Sudden injuries, such as a fall on an outstretched hand or a direct blow to the thumb, can cause inflammation of the tendons at the base of the thumb.

Predisposing Anatomy:. Some people may have anatomy that increases their susceptibility to developing thumb tendinitis, such as shorter tendons or a genetic predisposition to chronic inflammation.


Treatment of thumb tendinitis focuses on relieving pain, reducing inflammation, and improving function. Some treatment options include:.

Rest and Modification of Activities:. Resting the hand and avoiding activities that worsen symptoms can reduce inflammation and allow the tendons to recover.

Physical therapy:. Stretching and strengthening exercises can improve the flexibility and strength of affected muscles and tendons

Immobilization: Wearing splints or splints can reduce stress on the tendons and facilitate healing.

Anti-inflammatory Medications:. NSAIDs, such as ibuprofen or naproxen, can reduce pain and inflammation.

Corticosteroid injections:. In severe cases, injections can reduce inflammation and relieve pain.

Surgery:. When other treatments are unsuccessful, surgery may be necessary to release inflamed tendons and improve function.

Conclusions and reflections.

Thumb tendinitis is a painful condition that can affect patients' quality of life. However, with proper diagnosis and treatment, most people can experience significant improvement in their symptoms and regain normal function of the thumb and wrist. It is essential to seek medical attention if you experience persistent thumb or wrist pain, as early treatment can prevent long-term complications. Additionally, taking preventative measures, such as practicing good ergonomics and avoiding excessive repetitive movements, can reduce the risk of developing thumb tendonitis in the future.


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