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Tendonitis Hand

Hand tendonitis is a condition that can occur when the tendons in your hand become inflamed. This can be a very painful condition, and if left untreated, can lead to long-term problems. This article will discuss the causes, symptoms and treatment of hand tendonitis.

Understanding Hand And Wrist Tendonitis

The tendons are the tough, fibrous cords that attach muscle to bone. They are responsible for enabling the muscles to move the bones. When these tendons become inflamed, it is referred to as tendonitis.

Tendinitis is an inflammation or irritation of a tendon — the thick cord that attaches bone to muscle. When tendinitis occurs, the usually smooth movement of the tendon is limited. Tendinitis most commonly occurs in your shoulder, elbow, wrist, finger, hip, thigh, or Achilles tendon.

Wrist tendinitis can occur in any of the tendons but is most common in the thumb and index finger.

Tendinitis is a relatively common condition that can occur at any age. However, it is most common in adults between the ages of 40 and 60.

What Are the Common Causes of Wrist Pain?

There are several different factors that can contribute to the development of hand tendonitis. These include:

1. Overuse:

This is the most common cause of hand tendonitis. When the tendons are used too much, they can become strained and inflamed.

2. Injury:

A direct injury to the tendons can also lead to tendonitis.

3. Age:

As we age, the tendons become less flexible and more susceptible to injury.

4. Medical conditions:

Certain medical conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, and gout can increase the risk of developing tendonitis.

What Are The Common Symptoms of Hand Tendonitis?

The most common symptom of hand tendonitis is pain. This pain will be felt in the affected area, which is usually the thumb or index finger. The pain may also radiate up the arm. Other symptoms may include:

  • swelling
  • tenderness
  • stiffness
  • weakness
  • elbow pain
  • clicking or snapping sensations

If you experience any of these symptoms, it is important to see your doctor so that you can get a proper diagnosis and treatment.

Who is at an increased risk of developing tendon sheath inflammation?

There are several different factors that can increase your risk of developing hand tendonitis. These include:

  • Age: As we age, the tendons become less flexible and more susceptible to injury.
  • Occupation: If your job requires you to use your hands a lot, you may be at an increased risk of developing hand tendonitis.
  • Sports: If you participate in sports that require repetitive motion of the hands, such as tennis or golf, you may be at an increased risk.
  • Medical conditions: Certain medical conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, and gout can increase the risk of developing severe tendonitis.

How is hand tendonitis diagnosed?

Your doctor will start by taking a medical history and doing a physical examination. They will then order imaging tests, such as x-rays, MRI or CT scans, to confirm the diagnosis.

Sometimes, symptoms of hand tendonitis are similar to those of other conditions, such as carpal tunnel syndrome. Your doctor will need to rule out these other conditions before making a diagnosis. Some of the conditions that manifest similar symptoms include:

  • Haglund’s deformity
  • De Quervain’s tenosynovitis
  • metatarsophalangeal joint dysfunction (MTPJ)
  • arthritis
  • trigger finger

How is Hand Tendonitis Treated?

There are several non-surgical options to treat tendonitis. These include:

1. Rest:

This is the most important part of the treatment. You will need to rest the affected area to allow the inflammation to go down.

2. Ice:

Apply ice to the affected area for 15-20 minutes several times a day for instant pain relief.

3. Anti-inflammatory medication:

This can help to reduce the pain and swelling associated with hand tendonitis.

4. Physical therapy:

A physical therapist can teach you exercises that will stretch and strengthen the muscles and tendons around the affected area. It is one of the most effective non-surgical treatments.

5. Corticosteroid injections:

If other treatments are not effective, your doctor may recommend a corticosteroid injection.

Will I need surgery for hand tendonitis?

You may require surgical intervention if the above treatments are not effective. Surgery is typically reserved for cases that do not respond to conservative treatment. The type of surgery will depend on the severity of your condition.

Some of the common surgical procedures used to treat hand tendonitis include:

  • Tenosynovectomy: This involves cutting and removing the inflamed tissue surrounding the tendon.
  • Tendon transfer: This involves moving the tendon to a different location to relieve pressure on the area.
  • Tendon reconstruction: This is a more complex procedure that involves rebuilding the tendon using tissue from another area of the body.

What are the Complications of Hand Tendonitis?

If hand tendonitis is left untreated, it can lead to serious complications. These include:

  • Tendon rupture: This is a complete tear of the tendon accompanied by other tendon injuries.
  • Joint damage: If tendonitis is not treated, it can cause damage to the joints in the affected area.
  • Loss of function: If the tendonitis is not treated, you may lose full use of the affected hand.

How to Prevent Hand Tendonitis?

A lady with hand tendonitis at work

There are several things you can do to prevent hand tendonitis. These include:

  • Warm-up before activity: Be sure to warm up and stretch before any physical activity to avoid hand pain and wrist swelling.
  • Avoid overuse: Don’t overdo it! If you find that an activity is causing pain, take a break. Avoid repetitive movements for a prolonged duration.
  • Use proper technique: Use good form when participating in any physical activity.
  • Strengthen the muscles: Strengthening the muscles around the wrist tendons can help to prevent tendon injury and avoid inflamed tendons.
  • Wear protective gear: If you play sports, be sure to wear the proper protective gear.
  • Rest: Be sure to get enough rest. This will help your body to recover from any activity and ease any joint pain.

If you have any risk factors for hand tendonitis, be sure to talk to your doctor. They may recommend that you take steps to reduce your risk.


Hand tendonitis is a condition that causes inflammation and pain in the tendons of the hand. It is typically caused by overuse or repetitive activities. The most important part of the treatment is rest. Other treatments include ice, anti-inflammatory medications, physical therapy, and corticosteroid injections. Consult your doctor if the condition does not improve with conservative treatment. Surgery may be necessary in some cases.


1. National Health Service (NHS) UK. “Hand tendonitis.” NHS Choices, Accessed 2 May 2017.

2. Mayo Clinic Staff. “Tendonitis.” Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN, 9 Feb 2017. https://www.mayoclinic.org/

3. American Society for Surgery of the Hand (ASSH). “Tendonitis of the Hand.” HandCare.org, Accessed 2 May 2017.

4. WebMD. “Tendinitis.” WebMD, New York, NY, 2 May 2017. https://www.webmd.com/

5. OrthoInfo—The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS). “Tendinitis.” AAOS, Rosemont, IL, May 2016.

6. Cleveland Clinic. “Tendinitis.” MyHealth, Cleveland, OH, 8 Mar 2017. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/

7. National Health Service (NHS) UK. “Corticosteroid injections.” NHS Choices, Accessed 2 May 2017.

8. American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS). “Treatment for Tendonitis.” OrthoInfo—The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, Rosemont, IL, Jan 2011.

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