by Nicky Lowney
Tendons are the cords that connect bones to muscles in the body. They are covered by a sleeve-like tissue. Tenosynovitis is an inflammation of this sleeve. It occurs most often in the hand, wrist, or foot.
Most cases of tenosynovitis are caused by one of the following:
Factors that may increase your risk of tenosynovitis include:
Tenosynovitis may cause:
Tenosynovitis is common in the tendons of the thumb. This is called de Quervain’s tenosynovitis. It causes pain and stiffness in the thumb side of the wrist.
The wrists, hands, and feet are also commonly affected. Tenosynovitis that affects tendons of the fingers can also make the finger stick in a bent position.
Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done. It will include an assessment of the joint.
A blood test may also be done. Your doctor will use this to look for signs of bacterial infection or other conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis. Your doctor may refer you to a hand specialist.
Talk with your doctor about the best treatment plan for you. The goal of treatment is to reduce swelling and pain and to allow the tendon to move freely. Treatment options include the following:
Resting the involved joint is often the best treatment for tenosynovitis. A brace or splint may be used to help you rest the joint. Rest may be combined with basic stretching and strengthening exercises.
Ice and Heat
Applying ice or heat to the area may decrease pain and swelling. Start with ice, especially soon after the injury. If ice is not helpful, try heat.
Several medications are used to treat tenosynovitis. These include:
Surgery may be used for severe tenosynovitis. The surgery will release the tendon and allow it to move freely.
To prevent tenosynovitis, avoid overuse of your tendons. Take the following steps if you have a job or hobby that involves repetitive motions of the hand, wrist, or foot:
American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons
American Society for Surgery of the Hand
Canadian Orthopaedic Foundation
De Quervain syndrome. American Society for Surgery of the Hand website. Available at: http://www.assh.or.... Accessed May 1, 2013.
De Quervain tendonitis. American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons website. Available at: http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=A00007. Updated October 2007. Accessed May 1, 2013.
De Quervain’s tenosynovitis. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://dynamed.ebscohost.com/about/about-us. Updated July 13, 2011. Accessed May 1, 2013.
10/26/2010 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance https://dynamed.ebscohost.com/about/about-us: Massey T, Derry S, Moore R, McQuay H. Topical NSAIDs for acute pain in adults. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2010;(6):CD007402.
Last reviewed May 2013 by Michael Woods, MD