Injuries to tendons in the hand and wrist are common in many sports. Any of the tendons may be affected, but there are two disorders that are particular prevalent: deQuervain’s disease and intersection syndrome. These are both caused by inflammation of the tunnel-like sheath that surrounds the two tendons that control the thumb.
Causes of Wrist & Hand Tendon Pain
Both of these conditions are repetitive strain injuries, caused by prolonged or repeated gripping, squeezing, and pulling movements. In deQuervain’s disease, the tendon sheath becomes strained, while in intersection syndrome, the sheath is irritated as it rubs against the two thumb muscles. In both cases this leads to inflammation and swelling of the sheath, which in turn leads to restricted movement of the tendons.
Symptoms & Diagnosis
Your wrist will feel sore and the area may be red. The pain may extend into your thumb or along the inside of your forearm. Although the symptoms are very similar, the two conditions can be distinguished from one another because the pain occurs in different places. DeQuervain’s disease will cause pain and tenderness at the side of your wrist beneath the base of your thumb. Intersection syndrome will cause pain just above the back of your wrist joint, on top of your forearm.
- Oral medications or wrist or thumb splint
- Injection of corticosteroids to bring down the inflammation
If the above treatments do not respond well, surgery will be recommended to widen the tendon tunnel.