Orthopedics

Tendinitis of the Wrist

DeQuervain’s tendinitis is characterized by pain and swelling of the thumb-side of the wrist. Recurrent irritation of the tendon and its sheath make it difficult and painful for the tendons to function normally.

Pain that occurs when grasping or pinching and tenderness over the wrist, are the most common symptoms of tendonitis. Sometimes a lump can be felt in this area.

Wrist tendinitis (inflammation of the tendons) may be caused by overuse and also can be seen in association with pregnancy or rheumatoid arthritis.

Treatment for tendinitis

Tendinitis symptoms may improve with short periods of rest in a splint and by stretching exercises designed to get the tendons gliding again. Resting the tendon often allows the inflammation to decrease. Avoiding or modifying the activities that led to the onset of symptoms may be necessary.

Icing wrist tendinitis can help decrease inflammation and also stimulate blood flow to the area affected area. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications may help control pain, and decrease inflammation and swelling of the soft-tissues. A steroid injection can frequently cure the condition. More severe cases may require surgery. The operation entails opens the covering that surrounds the tendons to create more room for the irritated tendons. Afterward, physical therapy is usually prescribed to restore normal use of the hand.

Illustration reproduced with permission from Fischer S, (interim ed): Your Orthopaedic Connection. Rosemont, IL, American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. Available at http://orthoinfo.aaos.org.org/.