What is wrist tendinitis?

Wrist tendinitis, also known as tenosynovitis, is an inflammation of the tendons in the wrist. People with wrist tendonitis experience wrist pain along with limited range of motion, and over time, the wrists can be permanently damaged if the inflammation is allowed to persist. This condition is quite common, and there are a number of treatment options that can be used to address it, especially in the early stages.

Some of the causes of wrist tendonitis include trauma to the wrists, repetitive motion, overuse, and misuse of the wrists. For example, someone who has their hands in the wrong position on the keyboard, even when not typing much, may develop wrist tendinitis as a result of the awkward position. Early signs of wrist tendinitis include pain and stiffness, with pain appearing above the wrist, and some people also experience swelling. The wrist may also feel hot and tender to the touch.

Treatment involves rest and the administration of anti-inflammatory medications to reduce swelling and mitigate the inflammatory reaction that occurs in the wrists. These medications may include steroids injected directly into the wrist to relieve inflammation directly, along with oral medications. Medications should allow the wrist tendons to move more smoothly, allowing the patient pain-free range of motion in the wrist. Gentle exercise may be recommended to keep your wrists healthy as they heal and to strengthen the tendons.

Persistent wrist tendinitis may require surgical treatment. This should be avoided as surgery carries risks and the patient will need to complete wrist rehabilitation during the healing process. People can reduce the risk of developing wrist tendinitis by protecting their wrists from injury with proper protective equipment, including equipment that promotes proper wrist positioning so people can safely perform operations such as typing.

Wrist tendinitis is sometimes confused with carpal tunnel syndrome. In carpal tunnel syndrome, the nerves become pinched, resulting in a tingling or numbness sensation in the hand. People may also experience a burning sensation. With wrist tendonitis, there is pain, but no loss of sensation. Patients experiencing wrist pain should see a doctor for an exam, which may include medical imaging studies to learn more about the origins of wrist pain. The doctor can make treatment recommendations, including prevention recommendations, such as bracing to reduce the risk of re-injury.

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