Wrist Pain on Thumb Side

wrist pain thumb side after fall

De Quervain’s Tendinosis (also know as wrist pain thumb side)

De Quervain’s tendinosis takes place when the tendons around the base of the thumb are irritated or restricted. The word “tendinosis” refers to a swelling of the tendons. Swelling of the tendons, and the tendon sheath, can cause pain and inflammation along the thumb side of the wrist. This is particularly visible when forming a fist, understanding or gripping something, or when turning the wrist.


Two of the primary tendons to the thumb travel through a tunnel (or series of pulley-blocks) located on the thumb side of the wrist. Tendons are rope-like structures that connect muscle to bone. Tendons are covered by a slippery thin soft-tissue layer, called synovium. This layer allows the tendons to move quickly through a fibrous tunnel called a sheath.

Any swelling of the tendons and/or thickening of the sheath, leads to increased friction and pain with particular thumb and wrist motions.

Causes of Wrist Pain Thumb Side

De Quervain’s tendinosis may be triggered by overuse. It likewise is connected with pregnancy and rheumatoid disease. It is most common in middle-aged women.


Pain may be felt over the thumb side of the wrist. This is the primary symptom. The pain may appear either gradually or all of a sudden. Pain is felt in the wrist and can travel up the forearm. The pain is usually even worse when the hand and thumb are in use. This is especially true when forcefully comprehending objects or twisting the wrist.

Other signs:

  • Swelling may be seen over the thumb side of the wrist. This swelling might associated with a fluid-filled cyst in this area.
  • A “capturing” or “snapping” sensation might be felt when moving the thumb.
  • Pain and swelling may make it difficult to move the thumb and wrist.

Doctor Examination

To determine whether you have wrist pain thumb side, your doctor may ask you to perform the Finkelstein test by putting your thumb versus your hand, making a fist with your fingers closed over your thumb, and after that flexing your wrist towards your little finger.

If you have De Quervain’s tendinosis, this test is rather painful, triggering tendon pain on the thumb side of the wrist.

Treatment for Wrist Pain on Thumb Side

The objective in treating de Quervain’s tendinosis is to relieve the pain caused by inflammation and swelling.

Nonsurgical Treatment

  • Splints. Splints might be used to rest the thumb and wrist.
  • Anti-inflammatory medication (NSAIDs). These medications can be taken by mouth or injected into a tendon compartment. This may help reduce swelling and ease pain.
  • Preventing activities that cause pain and swelling. This might allow the symptoms to go away on their own.
  • Corticosteroids. Injection of corticosteroids into the tendon sheath might help reduce swelling and pain.

Surgical Treatment

Surgery might be advised if symptoms are severe or do not improve. The objective of surgery is to open the thumb compartment (covering) making more room for the irritated tendons.

Regardless of the treatment for wrist pain thumb side, typical use of the hand usually can be resumed when comfort and stamina have actually returned. Your orthopaedic specialist can encourage you on the best treatment for your scenario.



Updated: August 18, 2016 — 4:54 am

The Author

Reyus Mammadli

Healthy lifestyle advisor. Bachelor Degree of Medical Equipment and Electronics.
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