Wrist tendonitis, also referred to as tenosynovitis, is a common wrist condition that many of us will experience at one point or another in our life. It is characterized by irritation and inflammation of one or more tendons around the wrist joint.
The wrist joint is surrounded by many tendons on the back of the wrist (extensors) and the front of the wrist (flexors). When a wrist injury occurs, such as a wrist sprain, or repetitive stress progresses, it can cause the tendon to rub against the bone, which often causes inflammation to develop. With inflammation comes wrist pain, stiffness and mild swelling.
To treat wrist tendonitis, you must first recognize the cause. If repetitive stress is the cause, you may need to modify or eliminate the stress of the activity to prevent it from persisting or reoccurring. When injury or trauma is involved, your hand surgeon at Hand to Shoulder Center of Wisconsin will examine and perform tests that stretch specific tendons to locate the source of the injury and inflammation. X-rays can also be helpful to determine if additional causes are the culprit, such as a fracture or arthritis.
Another form of tendonitis of the wrist is DeQuervain’s tenosynovitis which is inflammation of the tendon at the base of the thumb.
Once a diagnosis is made, a treatment plan will be discussed and utilized. Home treatments plans may include:
- Intermittently icing the affected area to reduce the inflammation.
- Over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen, acetaminophen or naproxen.
- Rest to allow the inflamed tendon to heal.
If the pain and inflammation does not subside, professional treatment options are available. Such treatments include but are not limited to:
- Splinting or casting to immobilize the irritated tendon.
- Hand therapy which uses many modalities’ to stretch and strengthen the tendons and improve flexibility.
- Cortisone injection is a powerful anti-inflammatory treatment option.
- Surgery is always the last resort and rarely needed but if other treatment methods fail, surgery may be considered.
If wrist or hand pain is causing you discomfort, or if you feel you may be experiencing a repetitive strain injury, call the hand specialists at Hand to Shoulder Center of Wisconsin to schedule your initial evaluation.