Wrist Tendonitis: What is it? How do you Spot it? And how do you Treat it?
Posted on 14th November 2019 at 10:00
I’ve been practising yoga for quite some time now and in the beginning I found my wrists, particularly my left wrist, wasn’t keen. Fast forward a few months and both wrists got stronger and I had no issues. One of my goals for a couple of years now has been to do a hand-stand from a dead start, so no bouncing your legs up like you do when you a little. No, the hard way is to slowly lift your legs up into position. Hence why it’s taking me so long and I am yet to achieve it!
To help me with strength I started working out in the gym with Harry lifting weights, squatting and doing a lot of hanging leg raises. These were all great and lead to me getting closer to my goal. Then the dreaded injury happened. I was doing a lot of hand stands to practise my new strength and my right wrist began to become a problem. I had wrist tendonitis.
Wrist tendonitis, also known as tenosynovitis, is a common condition that usually affects one of the tendons, but it may also involve two or more of the tendons around your wrist.
Tendons connect muscle to bone, and the wrist tendons connect the forearm muscles to the bones of the hand and fingers. The wrist tendons slide through smooth sheaths as they pass by the wrist joint. These tendon sheaths allow the tendons to glide smoothly as the wrist bends back and forth in a low-friction manner. The tendon sheaths have a fluid within the sheath called synovial fluid, and when this area becomes inflamed, the condition is called tenosynovitis.
You can break the tendons of the wrist into two groups, those that flex the wrist, and those that extend the wrist. Either group can be irritated and cause pain but more common for the flexors to be irritated. This is because if you are doing a lot of activities on your hands, like hand stands or yoga, your wrists are bent with force going through it. This was my problem.
The most common and consistent complaint of clients diagnosed with wrist tendonitis is a pain in the wrist. Other symptoms of wrist tendonitis can include:
Swelling around the wrist joint
Warmth and redness of the tendons
Grinding sensations (crepitus) with the movement of the tendons
Treating Wrist Tendonitis
Not every client who has wrist tendonitis will be treated the same because everyone is different and heals differently. Regardless of this, rehabilitation will always start with steps that will reduce the inflammation and give the tendon time to heal. This will include icing, resting, and massage to the surrounding area to off load the tendon.
Some of the treatment plans may include:
Immobilisation: Placing the wrist in a splint or a cast is usually the first treatment step. Wrist tendonitis is due to recurrent irritation of the tendon and its sheath. By resting the tendon, the inflammation should decrease.
Icing the Injury: Applying an ice pack intermittently to the area of inflammation may also be beneficial. Icing wrist tendonitis can help to cool inflammation and stimulates blood flow to the area of tendonitis.
Anti-Inflammatory medications: If the client is OK to take them, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications will help control symptoms of pain and help to decrease inflammation and swelling of the soft tissues.
Massage: Massage to the whole forearm to release tension that would have built up over time will help to ease the tendon and release any scar tissue.
Kinesiology taping: Taping the wrist is also a great way to help with the healing process. Here is a video from John Gibbons on how to do this.
Long Term Prevention
Being mindful of what activities you are doing and not overloading the wrist is the best way to prevent flare ups. I took a couple of weeks off from yoga and hand stands and adjusted my training to stay off my wrist. I also got a 3 x 30 minute massages during this period to speed up the process.
It’s also important to look at your technique when you are lifting weights or putting your body weight through your wrists. Changing the position of your hand could be all it takes to take the pressure off that tendon.
You can use straps, splints or brace to support your wrist whilst doing the activity that loads the wrist.
For me I was back to training and yoga within 4 weeks, but this can be different for everyone. I spotted the signs early and acted. This is so important otherwise it can be harder to treat if left and the symptoms can get worse - which of course would have impacted on my job.
If you think you might have wrist tendonitis or any other issues with your wrists, speak to us to see if we can help.
Tagged as: tendonitis
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