Tenosynovitis

(Synovitis)

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 tissue. It occurs most often in the hand, wrist, or foot.
Tenosynovitis
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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

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, stiffness, or 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.

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. It will be done to look for signs of bacterial infection or other conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis. You may be referred to a hand specialist.

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