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Tendonitis of the wrist

Tendonitis is the inflammation and swelling of a tendon. A tendon is a fibrous structure that connects muscle to bone. Tendonitis of the wrist therefore is caused by inflammation and swelling of the tendons which surround the thumb. It is most common in women aged 30-50.


Even though the cause is not known contributing factors include over use and inflammatory arthritis. It is also seen in association with pregnancy.


  • Pain when grasping/pinching
  • Tenderness around the thumb side of the wrist which may travel up the forearm.
  • Swelling may occur along the thumb and movement may become difficult
  • Numbness on the back of the thumb and index finger


Your orthopaedic surgeon will:

  • Take a complete medical history
  • Perform a physical exam to determine the area of pain and identify any tenderness in the affected areas
  • The Finkelstein test is also conducted whereby the patient is asked to make a fist, tucking their thumb under fingers .The wrist is then bent towards the little finger. If patient has tendonitis, doing this test will dramatically increase pain.


May include:

  • Injections of corticosteroid medications administered to reduce swelling
  • Immobilising the thumb and wrist with a splint
  • Avoiding repetitive thumb movements
  • Applying ice to the affected area
  • Simple medication such as ibuprofen to relieve pain
  • Surgery may be needed in more serious cases where under local anaesthetic the doctor opens the sheath surrounding the involved tendon to release the pressure and restore free movement