Hand and Wrist

The hand and wrist are made up of many different bones, muscles and ligaments that enable a wide range of movements to perform many functional capabilities.

Your wrist is made up of eight small bones known as the carpal bones. These bones support and give your wrist flexibility, and connect your hand to the two long bones in your forearm known as the radius and the ulna.

The eight carpal bones can be grouped into 2 groups: the upper and lower area of the wrist

  • Upper area (closer to the wrist): Pisiform, Triquetrum, Scaphoid and Lunate
  • Lower area (closer to the hand): Trapezium, Trapezoid, Capitate and Hamate

 

Each finger consists of a metacarpal bone and 3 phalanges, while each thumb consists of one metacarpal bone and two phalanges.

Tendonitis of the Wrist

WHAT IS WRIST TENDONITIS?

Wrist tendonitis is the inflammation of the tendons in the wrist. These tendons are thick, fibrous cords that connect muscle to bone. When there is injury or damage to the tendons, or when there is repeated motion of the wrist, this can cause them to rub against the bone and get inflamed.

WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF WRIST TENDONITIS?

Some symptoms of wrist tendonitis include:

  • Pain and stiffness in the wrist after a period of inactivity such as waking up in the morning
  • Pain, tenderness and soreness of the wrist
  • Swelling
  • A “creaking” sound may be heard when moving the wrist
  • Weakness in the wrist when performing actions such as gripping, flexing and typing and you may experience a decreased range of motion

WHAT ARE THE CAUSES AND RISK FACTORS OF WRIST TENDONITIS?

Wrist tendonitis is mainly due to the overuse of the wrist, such as doing repetitive motions. Common activities of this include typing on a keyboard, writing and chopping ingredients when cooking.

Other risk factors include:

  • Age
  • Bone structure- having poorly aligned joints
  • Sudden injury to the wrist
  • Medical conditions such as diabetes or arthritis
  • Poor wrist posture

WHAT IS THE DIAGNOSIS OF WRIST TENDONITIS?

A history of the injury and a physical examination of the hand and wrist will be conducted by the Doctor. He will check for tenderness in your wrist, and do tests to rule out other possible conditions such as De Quervain’s Tenosynovitis (Finkelstein test).

Imaging tests such as an x-ray may be taken to rule out a fracture as the cause of pain, and may take an MRI scan to examine the tendonitis in detail.

WHAT ARE THE TREATMENT OPTIONS FOR WRIST TENDONITIS?

Common nonsurgical treatment for wrist tendonitis includes:

  • Applying heat and ice to reduce swelling in the wrist
  • Stretching exercises
  • Medication for pain relief (acetaminophen) and to reduce inflammation (ibuprofen)
  • Steroid injections (corticosteroid) to reduce inflammation
  • Changes in lifestyle to reduce stress and overuse of the wrist
  • A wrist splint to be worn during the night to keep your wrist in place and to let it heal

 

Should nonsurgical treatments fail to improve your symptoms or if your tendon is damaged, surgery may be recommended. During surgery, the tendon sheath will be cut to release the space between the tendon and bone through small incisions made in the wrist.

 

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