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Tendons connect the muscle to a bone. Tendonitis occurs when a tendon has inflammation from a variety of causes. Wrist tendonitis is inflammation of the tendons that cross the wrist joint and extend into the hand.

What are the causes?

Overuse is the most common cause of tendonitis in the hand. When a tendon is overused, microscopic tears occur in the tendon. Your body quickly heals these tears. When a tendon is overused, the rate of tearing exceeds the body's capacity to heal, therefore pain and inflammation result. Patients with occupations that require repetitive motion, such as typists, machinists or carpenters are at increased risk. Athletes, such as baseball players or those that play racquet sports may also develop wrist pain from repetitive motion.

What are the symptoms?

Patients complain of pain and swelling in the hand/wrist. The pain is activity related and the inflamed tendon is usually tender to palpation.

How is it diagnosed?

Physical exam combined with X-ray and/or MRI. Activity against resistance is extremely painful.

How is it treated?


Wrist tendonitis is generally treated non-operatively. The surgeon will recommend rest or activity avoidance, bracing, immobilization and anti-inflammatory medication. Physical therapy to stretch and strengthen the tendons may also be helpful.


In severe cases, which do not respond to non-operative treatment, surgery is recommended to remove soft tissue or bony obstructions which may be contributing to the pain.