Wrist tendonitis or tenosynovitis is a common condition characterized by inflammation and irritation of the tendon surrounding the wrist. There are several tendons that surround the joint. Always bear in mind that wrist tendonitis typically affects one of the tendons, but it can also involve 2 or more. Oftentimes, the condition develops at areas where the tendons cross one another or pass via a bony prominence.
The tendons of the wrist glide through smooth sheaths as they go through the wrist joint. The sheaths enable the tendons to slide smoothly as the wrist flexes back and forth with minimal friction. The sheaths have a fluid within which is called synovial fluid.
Indications of wrist tendonitis
The usual and consistent complaint of individuals who are diagnosed with wrist tendonitis is no other than pain in the joint. The other symptoms that can occur include the following:
- Redness and warmth of the tendons
- Swollen wrist
- Grinding sensations with movement of the tendons
A diagnosis of the condition is done by checking for the indicative signs. Additionally, depending on the affected tendon, the doctor might perform tests that stretch out the specific tendons to determine the exact source of the inflammation.
Management of wrist tendonitis
- Immobilization involves placing the wrist under a splint or cast. This is considered as the initial step in treatment. The condition is due to repetitive irritation of the tendon and its sheath. Allowing the tendon to rest will reduce the inflammation.
- Application of ice on the injury using an ice pack in an intermittent manner on the inflamed area can help. The application of cold can reduce the inflammation as well as stimulate the flow of blood to the affected area.
- Anti-inflammatory medications such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can control the symptoms of pain, but beneficial in managing wrist tendonitis to minimize the swelling and inflammation of the soft tissues. These medications will reduce the inflammatory response which is the exact reason for the pain.
- Cortisone injections are considered as a potent treatment option that is administered directly at the site of inflammation. The injections are relatively safe but can weaken the tendons over time if several injections are given.
- Surgery is the only option if other treatment options fail to deal with the problem. In such cases, the area of the taut tendon sheath that causes discomfort and difficulty with movement can be released. The inflamed tissue can also be removed in an attempt to produce more space for the tendon to freely move.