What is tenosynovitis?

The tendon is a fibrous tissue that connects the muscles to the bones. They are also responsible for controlling actions such as lifting, jumping and running. The tendons are enclosed by a protective sheath called as the synovium that produces synovial fluid for lubrication. Any injury to this area can cause damage to the synovium. Once this occurs, the sheath will no longer produce synovial fluid or produce less. As a result, it causes the swelling or inflammation of the synovium which is called as tenosynovitis or tendon sheath inflammation.

Causes of tenosynovitis

Take note that tenosynovitis is typically caused by injuries to the tendon or the surrounding bone or muscle. This condition not only occurs among athletes but also among individuals who engage in repetitive-motion activities. The condition is quite common in the tendons of the hands, wrist and feet. The following are the common causes of tenosynovitis:

  • Prolonged activities
  • Repetitive activities
  • Strain
  • Standing in a single position for extended periods
  • Injuries

It can also be caused by underlying conditions such as gout, rheumatoid arthritis, scleroderma, gonorrhea and diabetes. In some cases, the exact cause of the condition could not be determined.

How to determine if the pain is caused by tenosynovitis


Tenosynovitis is characterized by pain and swelling in the affected joint.

There are certain tendons in the body that are prone to injury, especially those in the feet, hands and wrists. Nevertheless, it can still occur in any tendon in the body including the knee, shoulder and elbow. Once this condition develops, the following symptoms are likely to manifest:

  • Swelling in the joint
  • Joint stiffness that causes immobility
  • Tenderness and pain in the joint

Treatment for tenosynovitis

The treatment for tenosynovitis centers on minimizing the pain and inflammation. Enrolling in a first aid course will surely help out a lot in similar conditions and injuries. Initially, you have to instruct the individual to rest the affected area and avoid any activities that caused the initial injury. In most cases, the doctor can recommend a splint or brace in order to immobilize the affected area. You should also apply an ice pack or heating pad to minimize the swelling and pain.

Other treatment options that can be recommended by the doctor include massage, ultrasound, stretching of the affected area and electrical nerve stimulation. The medications for tenosynovitis can be prescribed by the doctor. Take note that over-the-counter NSAIDs such as ibuprofen can be recommended.

In case the condition is caused by an underlying health condition such as gout or rheumatoid arthritis, the treatment will include medications to treat these conditions. The moment the affected tendon has fully healed, exercise or physical therapy is recommended in order to strengthen the muscle. Strengthening of the muscles will protect the tendon from injury in the future. If tenosynovitis frequently occurs, the doctor might recommend surgical intervention to correct the issue.