Brief Outline of Wrist Tendinitis

Wrist tendinitis is due to irritation and inflammation of one or more tendons around the wrist joint. Wrist tendinitis tends to occur in areas where the tendons cross each other or pass over an underlying bony structure, and affects individuals involved in strenuous and repetitive training.

Anatomy and physiology

The joint of the wrist is formed at the proximal end by the distal surfaces of the radius and ulna and a disc of fibrocartilage, and at the distal end by the scaphoid, lunate, and triquetral bones. The wrist helps orient and support the hand. Tendons of the wrist are encased in tendon sheaths known as the tenosynovium. Such sheaths provide for the smooth, friction-free sliding of tendons in the wrist. Swelling, irritation, and inflammation of the tenosynovium causes a thickening of the sheath, which constricts proper movement of the tendons, resulting in pain and a related affliction, tenosynovitis. Most wrist tendinitis occurs where a tendon passes through constricted tunnels of fascia. Four common sites of tendinitis are the first dorsal compartment (De Quervain’s tenosynovitis), digital flexors (trigger finger), flexor carpi radialis tendinitis, and lateral epicondylitis, (the latter associated with tennis elbow). The abductor pollicis longus and extensor pollicis brevis are also commonly affected.

De Quervain's Disease

Cause of Wrist Tendinitis

Sports involving wrist overuse, including all ball sports, racket sports, rowing, weightlifting, gymnastics, etc. Repetitive stress from typing. Other wrist overuse, as is common to nursing mothers.

Signs and symptoms of Wrist Tendinitis

Pain in the wrist, particularly at the joint. Inflammation in the region of the affected tendon(s). Limited mobility in the affected wrist.

Complications if left Wrist Tendinitis unattended

If the activity causing tendinitis is continued and the condition left untreated, the inflammation and associated pain can worsen. The condition can also lead to permanent weakening of the tendon(s).

Hand & Wrist Specialist, Dr Chee Kin Ghee

Dr. Chee Kin Ghee

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