Tenosynovitis is inflammation of the tendon sheath.
Tenosynovitis is inflammation of the lining of the sheath that surrounds a tendon (the cord that joins muscle to bone).
Avoiding repetitive movements and overuse of tendons may help prevent tenosynovitis.
Use the appropriate wound care techniques to clean cuts to the hand, wrist, ankle, and foot.
The synovium is a lining of the protective sheath that covers tendons. Tenosynovitis is inflammation of this sheath. The cause of the inflammation may be unknown, or it may result from:
- Diseases that cause inflammation
The wrists, hands, ankles, and feet are commonly affected because the tendons are long across those joints. But, the condition may occur with any tendon sheath.
An infected cut to the hands or wrists that causes tenosynovitis may be an emergency requiring surgery.
Symptoms may include any of the following:
- Difficulty moving the joint
- Joint swelling in the affected area
- Pain and tenderness around the joint
- Pain when moving the joint
- Redness along the length of the tendon
Fever, swelling, and redness may indicate an infection, especially if a puncture or cut caused these symptoms.
The health care provider will perform a physical examination. The provider may touch or stretch the tendon. You may be asked to move the joint to see if it's painful.
The goal of treatment is to relieve pain and reduce inflammation. Rest or keeping the affected tendons still is essential for recovery.
Your provider may suggest the following:
- Using a splint or removable brace to help keep the tendons still
- Applying heat or cold to the affected area to help reduce pain and inflammation
- Medicines such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) or corticosteroid injection to relieve pain and reduce inflammation
- In rare cases, surgery to remove the inflammation around the tendon
Tenosynovitis caused by infection needs to be treated right away. Your provider will prescribe antibiotics. In severe cases, emergency surgery is needed to release the pus around the tendon.
Ask your provider about strengthening exercises that you can do after you recover. These may help prevent the condition from coming back.
Most people fully recover with treatment. If tenosynovitis is caused by overuse and the activity is not stopped, it is likely to come back. If the tendon is damaged, recovery may be slow or the condition may become chronic (ongoing).