What are Swollen Tendons?

21 August 2017

Have you been experiencing pain in your wrist? Do you feel a dull ache, tenderness to the touch, or even warmth to the skin? If you're an athlete or have a job that requires a lot of repetitive movements, it could well be that the tendons in your wrist have become injured or swollen. Here at Wrist Supports, we have put together a little guide about swollen tendons, what they are and how they can be treated and prevented.

What Is a Tendon?

Tendons are strong cords that connect a muscle to a 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, so that they can glide smoothly as the wrist bends back and forth in a low-friction manner. When a tendon becomes inflamed or irritated, this can cause pain and tenderness, causing the joint to swell.

What Causes Swollen Tendons?

Swollen tendons, often referred to as tendonitis, are usually caused by repetitive action; you may experience tendonitis or swollen tendons if you frequently make the same motion while working or playing sports. You also increase the risk if the motion is performed incorrectly. Athletes who participate in certain sports such as tennis, golf, bowling or basketball are at higher risk of tendonitis.

More often than not, swollen tendons usually result from:

What Are the Symptoms of Swollen Tendons?

Pain from tendonitis is usually characterised as a dull ache concentrated around the affected area or joint, and often increases in pain or tenderness as it is being moved or touched. Some may even see redness around the injury, feel increased warmth on the skin, and, of course, swelling around the area.

How Can Swollen Tendons Be Treated?

Mild tendonitis can be easily cured at home, with the injury seeing improvement within two to three weeks. However, it is always good to see a doctor in the first instance.

The first course of action to treating a swollen tendon is to stop the exercise or the activity that caused the injury until you feel better. An ice pack can be applied to the injured areas for up to 20 minutes every two to three hours, as well as elevating the injured area by keeping it on a pillow when sitting or lying down. To prevent the swelling from getting worse, avoid heat packs, hot baths and alcohol for the first few days.

Your doctor or pharmacist may prescribe a painkiller, cream or gel if the injury is slightly more serious, or even refer you to a hospital if the swelling is suspected to be more severe (for example, if instant pain is felt or a snapping sound can be heard during injury). At the hospital, they will assess whether the tendons need steroid injections, shock wave therapy, or even surgery.

How Can I Prevent Swollen Tendons?

Since tendonitis is most often caused by sudden movements or repetitive exercise, it is easy to identify the steps to take to help reduce the risk of injury:

  • Warm up before exercise and stretch afterwards
  • Take regular breaks from repetitive exercise or activities
  • Do not start a new sport or activity without some training or practises
  • Use suitable equipment for the task at hand
  • Do not overexercise tired muscles
  • Keep a good posture if you are seated for long periods of time

Swollen Tendons at Wrist Support

Going about your daily tasks can be a pain when you are recovering from an injury. Here at Wrist Supports, we have a range of braces and supports to help you through treating swollen wrist tendons, helping to ensure that you are back to business in no time. Our specially designed products ensure that you are support and comfortable in carrying out your daily tasks as you heal. Click the button below to see our full range.


Have you ever experienced swollen tendons in the wrist? Let us know in the comments below, or reach out to us on Facebook or Twitter.

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