DeQuervain's tendinitis, also known as DeQuervain's tenosynovitis, is an inflammation and injury to two tendons on the thumb side of the wrist. Forceful and repetitive thumb and wrist movements can irritate these tendons and cause the condition.

People often feel pain in their wrist on the thumb side, but the pain may also spread to the thumb itself and the forearm. The base of the thumb may also be swollen. Movements of the thumb and wrist, such as grasping, pinching, or gripping a golf club, make the pain worse.


Conservative treatment consists of resting the hand and wrist, immobilizing it with a splint, applying ice, and taking non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication such as ibuprofen or naproxen. Most golf-induced wrist injuries due to overuse are successfully treated without surgery, but a golfer may have to give up the game for an extended period of time. If initial treatments fail, cortisone injections may provide relief.

Thumb Spica Splint

Thumb Spica Splint

When conservative treatments fail to work, surgery is an option, and it has a high success rate. Called "DeQuervain's release," the procedure entails releasing the tight tendon compartment to provide more room for the irritated tendons.

After the procedure, the hand and wrist are immobilized for two to four weeks, depending on the surgeon, and then the patient starts rehabilitation. Golfers are able to initiate mid-range wrist bending/extending and side to side movement when cleared by their doctor. The main goal is to achieve pain-free range of motion. Surgical guidelines vary depending on the surgeon, and it is important for golfers to adhere to what the doctor prescribes.

Tenderness is sometimes felt in the area of the incision after surgery, but most golfers are satisfied with the results and resume play after rehabilitation.