Tenosynovitis

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.

  • Causes

    Most cases of tenosynovitis are caused by one of the following:

    • Injury
    • Infection
    • Strain

    • Repetitive motions
      such as those used for:

      • Computer operation
      • Assembly line work
      • Cash register operation
      • Sports that involve repetitive actions
      • Sewing
      • Playing musical instruments

  • Definition

    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.

    Tenosynovitis
    si55550880 96472 1
    Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.

  • Diagnosis

    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. 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.

  • Prevention

    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:

    • Adjust your workspace to minimize the strain on your joints
    • Alternate activities when possible
    • Take breaks throughout the day
    • Exercise regularly

  • Risk Factors

    Factors that may increase your risk of
    tenosynovitis include:

    • Repetitive actions with your hand, wrist, or foot during work or play

    • Diseases that cause inflammation such as
      gout
      and
      rheumatoid arthritis

  • Symptoms

    Tenosynovitis may cause:

    • Joint pain
    • Joint stiffness
    • Joint swelling
    • Difficulty moving a joint
    • Redness along the length of the tendon

    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.

  • Treatment

    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: