The Swell Causing Wrist Tendonitis
By Orthopaedic and Neurology Clinic
Wrist tendonitis is a common condition. It involves irritation and inflammation of a tendon at the wrist joint.
This joint has many tendons around it. Tendonitis usually affects one. But it can involve two or more.
Wrist tendonitis often occurs where tendons cross each other or pass over a bony area. These are possible sites of irritation. They can lead to pain when you move the wrist.
One of the most common forms of wrist tendonitis is de Quervain’s tendinitis. It affects the tendons near your thumb.
What are some symptoms of Wrist Tendonitis?
The most common symptom of wrist tendonitis is pain. The pain may be dull, and it may worsen with movement of the wrist.
Other potential symptoms of wrist tendonitis include:
- warmth and redness
- swelling and inflammation, which can reduce the mobility of the wrist and make repetitive activities, such as texting or typing, more difficult
- a grinding sensation or creaking noise when moving the wrist
- weakness in the wrist
“People who perform activities that put a lot of stress on their wrists are at risk for tendinitis (tendonitis). New mothers and childcare providers who lift and hold babies for multiple hours each day are especially prone to this condition.”
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What types of diagnosis?
Discuss your medical history and general health, our doctor will ask about any previous injuries to your hand or wrist. He will want to know how and when your current injury occurred and will ask you to describe your symptoms, including whether you have any numbness in your hand or pain in any other locations.
Our Specialist may press on certain parts of your forearm, wrist, hand or fingers to check for swelling or tenderness. He may also ask you to perform certain movements, such as forming a fist or rotating your wrist, so they can isolate the source of your pain.
Imaging typically isn’t needed to diagnose tendonitis. But your provider may want an X-ray to check for fractures or arthritis. An X-ray doesn’t show tendonitis.
Ultrasounds and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) can be useful, though. They can show whether there’s fluid around the aggravated tendon.
Possible treatment methods?
There are several potential treatment options for wrist tendonitis. The type of treatment that our Specialist recommends will depend on the cause and severity of the condition.
Some nonsurgical options for treating wrist tendonitis include:
- gentle stretching exercises
- bracing or splinting the wrist to reduce movement and prevent further injury
- Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medicine to reduce pain and swelling
- a steroid injection into the wrist to reduce inflammation
- occupational therapy to help people engage in activities that they may otherwise find difficult
If these treatments fail, or there is damage to the tendon, a person may need surgery to correct their wrist tendonitis. The specific form of tendonitis will determine whether a person is a candidate for surgery, which is not beneficial in all cases.
During surgery, our surgeon will make a small incision in the wrist and locate the damaged tendon. He will then typically release the sheath surrounding the tendon. This minimally invasive procedure usually requires only local anesthesia. However, more complicated cases of wrist tendonitis may require general anesthesia.