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de Quervain tendinopathy N078

Last amended 
18 April 2023
Current RMA Instruments
Reasonable Hypothesis SOP
41 of 2019
Balance of Probabilities SOP
42 of 2019
SOP bulletin information on new SOPs

SOP Bulletin 207

ICD-10-AM Coding


Brief description

This condition involves the tendons of two muscles (abductor pollicis longus and extensor pollicis brevis) that move the thumb laterally, away from the palm.  It is a common cause of pain or tenderness on the thumb side of the wrist. It can involve either hand, or be bilateral.

Confirming the diagnosis

This diagnosis is made on clinical grounds and can be made by a GP.  If both hands are affected then separate diagnoses may need to be made, depending on when clinical onset has been in each hand and whether there is a causal factor common to both sides.

The relevant medical specialist is an orthopaedic surgeon.

Additional diagnoses covered by SOP
  • Nil

Conditions not covered by SOP
  • Osteoarthritis* first carpometacarpal joint
  • Stenosing flexor tenosynovitis* - trigger finger SOP
  • Trigger finger*

* Another SOP applies

Clinical onset

Clinical onset will be based on when symptoms first developed.  Typical symptoms are pain at the radial side of the wrist, worse with thumb movement or when holding or gripping objects and, less commonly, swelling and tenderness on the radial side of the wrist.

Clinical worsening

The condition is usually self-limiting, with resolution typically after approximately one year.  Conservative and surgical treatment options are available.