De Quervain Tenosynovitis

Other Known AliasesBlackBerry thumb, mother’s wrist, washerwoman’s sprain

Definitioninflammation of the abductor pollicis longus and extensor pollicis brevis tendons in the first extensor compartment at the styloid process of the radius.

Clinical Significance The pathogenesis is not well understood, but is most accepted to be caused by repetitive activities that maintain the thumb in extension and abduction. Treatment is graded from thumb spica splinting, NSAIDs, corticosteroid injections, up to surgical release of the first extensor compartment.

HistoryNamed after Fritz de Quervain (1868-1940), who was a Swiss surgeon and received his medical doctorate from the University of Bern in 1892. He would start his career training under Hugo Kronecker, Theodor Langhans, and Theodor Kocher, before becoming director of the surgical department at the La Chaux-de-fonds in Neuchâtel in 1897, and culminating in professor of surgery and director of the Inselspital at the University of Bern in 1918. He was a strong proponent of the generalist approach to patient care rather than the specialization of physicians and surgeons. He would describe his eponymous findings in his classic textbook series Spezielle chirurgische Diagnostik (Special Surgical Diagnosis) in 1907.


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  5. Up To Date. www.uptodate.com
  6. Spezielle chirurgische Diagnostik. Leipzig, 1907; 9th edition, 1931.

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