Tenosynovitis: Inflammation of the Hands & Feet That You Need to Know

Our muscles and bones need to be kept by a special tissue called a tendon. This fibrous tissue commonly suffers from inflammation, and in such case the experienced pain can be unbearable, particularly when dealing with tenosynovitis.

In order this condition to be treated we need to recognize the symptoms that our body sends and thus react on time.


The tendons in our body have a protective coating named as synovial sheath which produces a synovial fluid that keeps the tendon lubricated.

If the tendon gets harmed the sheath will not have the protective function of this tissue. As a result of that the sheath will no longer produce synovial fluid or just may not produce enough. The sheath will get inflamed or swelled due to its bad condition, and this issue is known as inflammation of the synovial sheath, or tenosynovitis.

Factors for the Occurrence of Tenosynovitis

The most common reason for its occurrence is a damage of the tendon, muscle, or surrounding bone. However, this issue is not limited only to athletes, but as well as appears in people who do a variety of activities by doing repetitive movements like weeding, working with the chain, and typing. Some people are at higher risk than others like for example carpenters, dentists, musicians, and so on.

Here are some of the factors that can cause this condition:

  • A repetitive stress activity
  • Prolonged physical activity like running
  • Keeping a same position for a long period of time
  • Sprains and sudden sprains

There are different types of inflammation of the tendons, but the most common one is De Quervain tenosynovitis. In this case you are dealing with a painful inflammation of the wrist and thumb tendons. The pain results when the swollen tendons rub against the narrow tunnel through which they pass, and this actually triggers the pain in the base of the thumb and forearm.

Tenosynovitis can be a result of other health issues present in the body like gout, diabetes, gonorrhea, rheumatoid arthritis, scleroderma, and reactive arthritis like Reiter’s syndrome.

Yet, in some people the cause for this condition cannot get determined. Namely, in some rare cases, tenosynovitis results from an infection from a cut or perforation of the tendon.

The inflammation of the synovial sheath is more common in the hands, wrists, and feet. But, this is not the only place where it can appear as every tendon of the body can be affected including the ones in the shoulder, elbow and knee.

Symptoms of Tenosynovitis

  • Articular pain
  • Joint sensitivity
  • Joint stiffness which makes the movements difficult
  • Joint swelling
  • Redness of the skin covering the affected tendon
  • Crunches of fingers and toes while motion
  • Fever, and in this case you need an immediate medical care as it signals an infection in the body.

Tenosynovitis remains a curable joint problem and several treatments exist to remedy it.

Treatment of Tenosynovitis

In case of having issues with your tendons you need to consult a doctor who will determine the right treatment for this issue. The treatment of tenosynovitis is based on lowering the inflammation and pain. Your doctor will suggest the best strategy to follow.

Probably the first strategy for this condition is resting the afflicted area by ceasing the activities that have caused it in the first place. You can use a splint or bandage to immobilize the painful body area.

The swelling and the pain can be as well as reduced by applying heat or cold on the affected area. A medical expert can recommend ultrasound, transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS), or a simple stretching of the afflicted area and a massage.

When the tendon heals, it is most likely that your doctor will suggest following exercises or physical therapy in order to strengthen the muscles which surround the injured tendon. Stronger muscles will protect the tendon from injury in the future.

Have in mind that this condition can come back at any time, especially if you are not careful about certain postures and movements. But, if you experience recurrent tenosynovitis, the doctor may recommend surgery to correct this issue.

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