At the end of the day, you notice that your hands are aching. While ice can sometimes help, the problem is not getting better with time. These are the symptoms of hand tendonitis. This common overuse injury can make it difficult to function and perform your daily tasks, so learn to identify it and seek medical care quickly if you develop a case of tendonitis.
Symptoms of hand tendonitis include pain and tenderness in the hand centralized along a tendon. Tendons are usually located near joints, so many patients describe the pain as joint pain. Tendonitis pain typically worsens at night. Also, activity or movement can make the pain worse. Repetitive motion is particularly aggravating for an individual with tendonitis. Because these symptoms can also indicate other hand conditions, like carpal tunnel syndrome and arthritis, patients who find the pain interfering with their everyday activities should seek the help of a physician for an accurate diagnosis. Swelling often accompanies the pain.
Hand tendonitis symptoms occur when the tendon, the tissue that connects the hand's muscles to its many bones, becomes inflamed. Tendonitis often occurs due to overuse, although the tendons can become inflamed after an injury. Any tendon in the body can develop tendonitis, but the hand and wrist are particularly prone to the condition because they are so often used. If symptoms are ignored, doctors at Cleveland Clinic indicate that tendonitis can lead to a tear or rupture of the tendon, a condition that requires surgery to repair.
Hand tendonitis is typically diagnosed based on its symptoms. Your doctor will do a thorough physical exam of your hand, taking it through a range of motion exercises to pinpoint the location of the pain. If the pain is centralized in a tendon, the doctor will likely diagnose tendonitis. According to the National Institutes of Health, doctors have specific tests to determine which tendon is affected. Some doctors will do imaging tests to rule out other conditions, like arthritis or bone injuries, that could cause similar pain.
Hand tendonitis symptoms are treated using lifestyle modification combined with medication. First, common everyday activities will be modified to put less stress on the affected tendons. Then, the hand may be immobilized using a splint to allow the tendon to heal. This is done in conjunction with anti-inflammatory medication to bring down the inflammation. Doctors instruct patients to use ice to control swelling. Sometimes, steroid injections into the tendon can control pain. If these standard treatments for hand tendonitis do not work, some doctors will turn to surgery to remove inflamed tissue, but this is rare. Once inflammation is under control, treatment progresses to physical therapy to strengthen the hand and avoid a future injury.
Those who regularly perform repetitive motions with their hands are at the highest risk of developing hand tendonitis symptoms. Preventive measures can lower this risk. Practicing proper technique and using correct posture when performing tasks with the hand can help. If possible, avoid repetitive motions with the hands. If your work requires this, take regular breaks to give your hands a rest. Stretch the hands and fingers before beginning long periods of use, such as before sitting down to play an instrument or type.