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Causes and Signs of Wrist Tendinitis

Causes and Signs of Wrist Tendinitis

Wrist tendinitis, also called tenosynovitis, is a common condition characterized by irritation and inflammation of the tendons around the wrist joint. Wrist tendinitis usually affects one of the tendons, but it may also involve two or more. Often, wrist tendinitis occurs at points where the tendons cross each other or pass over a bony prominence.


The symptoms of tendinitis include:

  • Pain or tenderness at or near a joint, especially around a shoulder, wrist, elbow, or ankle
  • Stiffness that, along with the pain, restricts the movement of the joint involved
  • Mild swelling or thickening of the tendon near the joint


Wrist tendinitis is an overuse condition which occurs due to repetitive strain or friction of the tendon. It usually occurs in a tendon which rubs over a bony prominence or where excessive repetitive strain has been placed on the tendon. Whilst tendinitis is the most common term used to describe this injury, it is often technically incorrect. Investigations and biopsies have often found no inflammatory cells present. Wrist tendinitis symptoms and treatment are usually the same whether the injury is inflammation or degeneration. Activities which require repetitive wrist movements are most likely to contribute to the development of wrist tendinitis which is a form of repetitive strain injury. Examples include sports such as badminton and jobs such as working a production line. Tendon injuries to the wrist can also occur through an impact or fall which also causes injury to ligaments and other tissue.


Tendinitis is typically diagnosed by a physical exam alone. If you have the symptoms of overuse tendinopathy, your doctor may order an ultrasound or MRI scans to help determine tendon thickening, dislocations and tears. Your doctor can also assess whether you have similar problems such as bursitis (inflammation of the fluid "cushion" surrounding the joints).


Rest from aggravating activities. Continuing to use the wrist when it is painful will prevent healing and could make the injury worse. A chronic tendon injury that has not been looked after in the early days is much more difficult to treat. Wearing a wrist splint or support may help with resting, particularly if you need to use your hands. By immobilizing the wrist the tendons have to work a lot less and have a chance of healing. Apply cold therapy to ease pain and swelling particularly in the early days or when the wrist tendinitis is very painful. Preventing Future Problems

There are a number of steps you can take to prevent flare-ups of wrist tendinitis. The most important step you can take is to modify any specific activity that seems to aggravate your condition. This may mean adjusting the way you lift or adjusting your grip. Changing the position of your hands when you perform activities can ensure no single tendon takes too much of the load.

  • Wearing a splint during activities that irritate your tendinitis can be very helpful, but this may also be cumbersome. A simple support wrap or brace can be an easy way to avoid symptoms.
  • Use caution taking medications before activities, as sometimes this can cover up symptoms, when it may be better for you to be able to assess when you are overdoing an activity.

Seeking proper wrist tendinitis treatment will help you to keep your wrists in the best condition. Whether you know what caused your tendinitis, or if the cause is still up in the air, there are some things you can do in order to provide yourself with the best in wrist tendinitis treatment and prevention. Follow these tips in order to make this condition better.