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 tissue. 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.
You will be asked 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. It will be done to look for signs of bacterial infection or other conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis. You may be referred 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:
The tendon will need time to heal. Supportive care may include the following: . A brace or splint may be used to help you rest the joint. Rest may be combined with basic stretching and strengthening exercises.
A physical therapist will assess the tendon. An exercise program will be created to reduce discomfort and promote recovery. The therapist may also suggest modifications to your workplace to reduce stress to the area.
Several medications are used to treat tenosynovitis. These include:
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 Society for Surgery of the Hand
OrthoInfo—American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons
Canadian Orthopaedic Foundation
de Quervain syndrome. American Society for Surgery of the Hand website. Available at: http://www.assh.org/Public/HandConditions/Pages/deQuervainsTendonitis.aspx. Published 2012. Accessed March 10, 2015.
De Quervain tendonitis. American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons website. Available at: http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=A00007. Updated December 2013. Accessed March 10, 2015.
De Quervain’s tenosynovitis. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated January 20, 2015. Accessed March 10, 2015.
10/26/2010 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed: Massey T, Derry S, Moore R, McQuay H. Topical NSAIDs for acute pain in adults. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2010;(6):CD007402.
Last reviewed March 2015 by Teresa Briedwell, PT, DPT
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.