De Quervain's tenosynovitis is a disorder characterized by pain on the radial (thumb) side of the wrist, impairment of thumb function, and thickening of the ligamentous structure covering the tendons in the first dorsal compartment of the wrist. It is precisely defined as stenosing tenosynovitis of the first dorsal compartment. It is a relatively common, uncomplicated, and noncontroversial musculoskeletal disorder of the distal upper extremity. The purpose of this review is to summarize information from the medical literature on aspects of De Quervain's tenosynovitis likely to be of interest and relevant to occupational medicine practitioners. The topics covered include normal anatomy and kinesiology; history; clinical observations related to diagnosis; pathology; pathophysiology; clinical observations on etiology; descriptive epidemiology; epidemiological studies; and case management. Models for the pathogenesis of De Quervain's tenosynovitis are proposed and opportunities for future research presented.
From the Departments of Occupational and Environmental Medicine and Occupational Health Sciences, University of Texas Health Center at Tyler, Tyler, Tex.
Address correspondence to: J. Steven Moore, MD, MPH, Department of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, University of Texas Health Center at Tyler, P.O. Box 2003, Tyler, TX 75710.