De Quervain’s Tenosynovitis: Occupational Therapy Interventions

De Quervain’s tenosynovitis, a painful condition affecting the tendons on the thumb side of your wrist, can disrupt an individual’s ability to perform everyday tasks. It is a common ailment seen in individuals who repetitively use their hands and wrists, such as those engaged in certain occupations or sports. Fortunately, occupational therapy (OT) offers effective treatment strategies to manage this condition and help patients regain function and reduce discomfort. Here’s an exploration of the role that occupational therapy plays in managing De Quervain’s tenosynovitis.

Understanding De Quervain’s Tenosynovitis

Before delving into the treatment strategies, it’s crucial to understand what De Quervain’s tenosynovitis is. It’s a condition characterized by inflammation of the tendons located on the thumb side of the wrist, leading to pain and swelling. This condition often arises due to repetitive hand or wrist movements, making it common among individuals whose work involves repetitive manual tasks.

Occupational Therapy Interventions

Occupational therapists provide a holistic approach to the treatment of De Quervain’s tenosynovitis, focusing not only on physical rehabilitation but also on patient education and lifestyle modifications. Here are some key strategies employed in OT for this condition:

Splinting and Bracing

One of the primary treatment modalities used in OT for De Quervain’s is the use of splints or braces. These devices help immobilize the affected area, reducing strain on the inflamed tendons and promoting healing. In addition, they can help patients avoid movements that may exacerbate their symptoms.

Therapeutic Exercises

An occupational therapist may also prescribe specific exercises aimed at strengthening the muscles around the affected tendons and improving range of motion. These exercises are designed to alleviate pain, reduce inflammation, and increase function.

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Activity Modification

Occupational therapists can teach patients how to modify their activities and use adaptive tools to prevent further injury. They provide training on ergonomic techniques and proper hand and wrist postures to help individuals perform their daily tasks in a way that doesn’t exacerbate their condition.

Pain Management

Pain management is another critical aspect of OT in De Quervain’s tenosynovitis. Therapists may recommend cold therapy or other pain management techniques to reduce discomfort and inflammation.


Occupational therapy can play a significant role in the management of De Quervain’s tenosynovitis. By employing a combination of splinting, therapeutic exercises, activity modifications, and pain management strategies, occupational therapists can help individuals with this condition return to their daily activities with reduced pain and increased function. As with any treatment plan, it is important for individuals to work closely with their healthcare provider to develop a personalized approach that suits their unique needs and lifestyle.

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