November 27, 2019

Paul Nielsen, MD

Orthopaedic Surgeon

What Are the Symptoms of Wrist Tendonitis?

  • Pain along the side of the wrist
    • Using the hand usually worsens the pain
  • Swelling frequently occurs
  • Pain often develops slowly over time

What Causes Wrist Tendonitis?

  • Overuse often causes inflammation and swelling around the tendons
    • Changes in activity often set this off
    • Often occurs during or after pregnancy as well
  • A tunnel at the wrist normally help hold the tendons in place
    • The swollen, inflamed tendon becomes painful in the tunnel
    • Some patients have tighter tunnels, making them more likely to develop this

What Are the Treatment Options for Wrist Tendonitis?

  • Steroid injections around the swollen tendon can reduce the swelling
    • These injections often resolve the symptoms
  • Splinting can reduce the inflammation around the tendon 
  • NSAIDS such as ibuprofen, naproxen, or meloxicam can decrease inflammation and pain
  • Surgery is an option if pain does not improve
    • A small incision is made to open the tunnel around the tendon
    • The surgery is usually performed with just local anesthesia in about 10 minutes
    • No IV, no fasting, and no recovery from anesthesia medicines

What Is Recovery Like After Surgery?

  • Patients normally are in a soft dressing for a few days after surgery
    • Sutures are removed 10-14 days after surgery
  • Light use of the hand is encouraged immediately after surgery
    • Heavy use of the hand is allowed about a month after surgery
  • Hand therapy is usually not required
  • Recurrence is very uncommon

Recognize the symptoms of wrist tendonitis? Feel free to call New West at 308-865-2570 to make an appointment with Dr. Nielsen today. No referral required.


About the Author

Paul Nielsen, MD is an orthopedic surgeon specializing in hand & upper extremity surgery at New West Sports Medicine & Orthopaedic Surgery in Kearney, NE.


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