Incidence of de Quervain's tenosynovitis in a young, active population

J Hand Surg Am. 2009 Jan;34(1):112-5. doi: 10.1016/j.jhsa.2008.08.020. Epub 2008 Dec 10.


Purpose: De Quervain's tenosynovitis is thought to occur most frequently in women, with presentation of pain and swelling in the first dorsal extensor sheath. The epidemiology of this extensor tendinitis is not well described. We evaluated the incidence and demographic risk factors for de Quervain's tenosynovitis using a large database of military personnel.

Methods: The Defense Medical Epidemiology Database (DMED) collects International Classification of Diseases, 9th Revision, and Clinical Modification (ICD-9-CM) coding information for every patient encounter occurring for United States military personnel. We queried the DMED system by race, gender, military service, rank, and age for the years 1998-2006 using the ICD-9 code 727.04, limiting data to first presentations. Multivariate Poisson regression was used to estimate the rate of de Quervain's tenosynovitis per 1000 person-years, as well as incidence rate ratios and 95% confidence intervals.

Results: There were 11,332 cases of de Quervain's tenosynovitis in the population at risk of 12,117,749 person-years. Women had a significantly higher rate of de Quervain's tenosynovitis at 2.8 cases per 1000 person-years, compared to men at 0.6 per 1000 person-years. Age greater than 40 was also a significant risk factor, with this age category showing a rate of 2.0 per 1000 person-years compared to 0.6 per 1000 in personnel under 20 years. There was also a racial difference, with blacks affected at 1.3 per 1000 person-years compared to whites at 0.8.

Conclusions: In analysis of a large population, we have described the epidemiology of stenosing tenosynovitis of the first extensor compartment. Risk factors for de Quervain's in our population include female gender, age greater than 40, and black race.

Type of study/level of evidence: Prognostic II.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • African Continental Ancestry Group / statistics & numerical data
  • Age Distribution
  • Age Factors
  • Databases, Factual
  • De Quervain Disease / epidemiology*
  • European Continental Ancestry Group / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Military Personnel*
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Risk Factors
  • Sex Distribution
  • Sex Factors
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Young Adult