Tendonitis of the Wrist 

Wrist/ Hand

Tendonitis of the Wrist 

Wrist tendonitis is a general term for inflammation of the tendons in the wrist. Tendons are strong fibrous tissues that connect muscles to bones and help them move. When these tendons are overstretched or irritated, they can become inflamed, causing pain, tenderness and loss of movement in the wrist. 

There are two main types of wrist tendonitis, depending on the location of the inflammation: 

  • De Quervain’s tenosynovitis: It affects the tendons on the thumb side of the wrist, at the base of the thumb. 
  • Extensor tendonitis: This affects the tendons at the back of the wrist that help extend the wrist and fingers. 

What are the Symptoms?

Symptoms of wrist tendinitis can vary depending on the location of the inflammation, but some common symptoms include:

What are the Causes & Risk Factor?

Several factors can contribute to wrist tendinitis:

Predisposing factors of wrist tendinitis

Certain factors can increase your risk of wrist tendinitis:

  • Occupations: People whose jobs require repetitive hand and wrist movements are more prone to this condition. 
  • Sports Participation: Athletes who participate in sports that involve repetitive wrist movements are at increased risk. 
  • Age-related degeneration: Tendons become less flexible with age and become susceptible to such conditions. 
  • Poor posture: Poor posture can put unnecessary pressure on the wrist and tendons. 
  • Poor grip strength: Poor grip strength can put strain on tendons during activities, increasing the risk of inflammation. 

Diagnosis of wrist tendinitis

Diagnosing wrist tendinitis typically involves:

  • Physical examination: The healthcare professional will assess your wrist for to identify the location of tenderness and assess the severity of pain with specific movements. 
  • Range of motion: They will test your ability to move your wrist in all directions, evaluating for limitations caused by the tendinitis. 
  • Strength testing: Specific tests might be performed to assess the strength of the wrist and hand muscles. 
  • X-rays: X-rays can help identify bone abnormalities in the wrist, such as fractures or arthritis, but they don’t directly visualize soft tissues like tendons. 
  • Ultrasound: Ultrasound imaging can see the tendons and their surrounding sheath, allowing for a more detailed examination of the inflamed area. It can also help identify any tears or abnormalities within the tendon. 
  • MRI scan: In some cases, an MRI scan can be used to provide a more detailed picture of the soft tissues, including tendons, ligaments and muscles. This may be helpful if there is concern about a more complex injury or if other diagnostic tests are inconclusive. 

Treatment options for hip osteoarthritis

Treatment for wrist tendonitis focuses on reducing pain, inflammation, and promoting healing of the affected tendon. Here’s an overview of common treatment options:

  • Rest: Avoiding activities that aggravate pain is important for early healing. This may include modifying activities or using ergonomic tools to reduce stress on the wrist. 
  • Ice therapy: Applying an ice pack to the affected area for 15-20 minutes at a time, several times a day can help reduce pain and inflammation. 
  • Pain medications: Over-the-counter pain relievers (ibuprofen, acetaminophen) or prescription medications can be used to manage pain and discomfort. 
  • Bracing or Splint: Wearing a wrist brace or splint can help immobilize and provide support to the wrist, reducing stress on the inflamed tendon. The specific type of brace and duration of use will be determined by a healthcare professional. 
  • Stretching and strengthening exercises: Gentle stretching exercises to improve flexibility and range of motion in the wrist and arm. Exercises to strengthen the muscles around the wrist and arm can improve stability and prevent future problems. Exercises will specifically target the affected tendon and the muscles that support it. 
  • Corticosteroid injection: In some cases, injecting corticosteroids directly around the inflamed tendon can relieve pain and reduce inflammation. However, repeated injections are not recommended due to possible side effects. 

Surgery for wrist tendinitis is rarely necessary and is usually only considered if conservative treatment fails to provide significant improvement after a long period of time (usually several months). Here are the most common surgical procedures for wrist tendinitis: 

  • Tenosynovectomy: This outpatient surgery involves removing the inflamed tissue around the tendon or repairing the torn tendon. This procedure can make more room for the tendon to slide more easily and reduce friction. 

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