What is Tendovaginitis?

22 August 2017  |  Eugene

Our modern lives are often seen as less strenuous than lives in society once were, but the modern world is not without its perils. As office jobs increase, so too do the scourges of modern work tools, and the modern ways of working. Whether you write with a pen, or type on a keyboard, your hands are no doubt in constant motion, often performing repetitive tasks ad nauseam that are simple at first, but which can cause problems in the long run. Tendovaginitis is often seen as one of these risks, and we've compiled a helpful guide to help you recognise, understand and treat the condition.

What is Tendovaginitis?

Also known as tenosynovitis, Tendovaginitis is a condition that affects the tendons, and in particular the tendon sheaths around our hands, wrists and fingers. It is sometimes called a repetitive strain injury due to the suspicion that it can arise from repetitive motions involved in many common occupations and past times.

Within the umbrella of Tendovaginitis are a number of variations, such as De Quervain's Tendovaginitis, which affects the thumb, and stenosing Tendovaginitis (also known as trigger finger), which affects the middle or index finger. These conditions can all cause pain or a loss of function in the affected area, making it a highly debilitating condition if allowed to progress. Usually found among middle-aged people and older women, the condition is thankfully just as treatable as it is common.

See Our Supports for Tendovaginitis

Symptoms of Tendovaginitis

Since Tendovaginitis is usually found around the fragile tendon sheaths in our hands and wrists, the first warning signs usually come in the form of slight pain and discomfort. Over time, these symptoms will worsen, and will often help to onset more serious conditions. While early-stage Tendovaginitis can lead to De Quervain's Tendovaginitis and stenosing Tendovaginitis, these conditions involve their own symptoms that are not necessarily synonymous with the pains of Tendovaginitis.

In most cases a sufferer of Tendovaginitis will experience all or some of the following symptoms:

  • Pain when moving the wrist
  • Noticeable redness along the affected tendon
  • Difficulty when attempting to move the wrist
  • A dull aching feeling in the joint
  • Swelling around the affected portion of the wrist
  • Tenderness of the area when pressed
  • Stiffness, or a loss of range of motion
  • Shooting pains up the arm, originating at the wrist
  • Loss of grip strength, or difficulty grasping objects

In De Quervain's Tendovaginitis and stenosing Tendovaginitis, these symptoms will be limited to the thumb or middle fingers respectively.

Wrist supports for tendovaginitis typing on keyboard

Tendovaginitis can be developed from repetitive movements, such as typing

Causes of Tendovaginitis

While much is known about Tendovaginitis, what it does to the tendon sheaths and the symptoms it causes, there is a surprising amount of disagreement regarding its origins and causes. While many agree that it is a type of repetitive strain injury, others insist that the condition is often brought on by the simultaneous occurrence of several small tears or other injuries to the affected tendon.

While the absolute origins of the condition are still under investigation, here are some known factors that will cause, or at least increase the likelihood of, Tendovaginitis:

  • Prolonged repetitive movements (sport, manual labour, typing, etc.)
  • History of Tendovaginitis in the family
  • Injuries or strains on the affected tendon
  • Wound over the tendon, causing infection that attacks the tendon sheaths
  • A pre-existing condition such as arthritis

Diagnosis of Tendovaginitis

While there are some mitigating factors that can cause diagnosis of Tendovaginitis to be more difficult, such as development through a wound, it is usually fairly straightforward. Your physician will most likely go over the symptoms you have experienced and come to a diagnosis through those means. After a general examination, your diagnosis with Tendovaginitis should be simple.

Treatment of Tendovaginitis

After diagnosis, there are a wide range of options available, often based on the severity of the condition, the detriment it causes to your daily life, and the way the condition developed. The available treatments include:

  • Administration of anti-inflammatory painkillers such as ibuprofen
  • Rest and activity modification
  • Use of a splint or bandage to maintain a correct position
  • Application of an ice pack for short periods of time
  • In rare and extreme cases, surgery to release the tendon
  • A steroid injection, if other means have failed and infection is present
  • In cases of infection, antibiotics will be offered
  • Physiotherapy, as a precursor to surgery

Other experimental treatments, such as shockwave therapy or autologous blood injection are available, though they are unproven and not recommended in most cases.

Best Wrist Supports for Tendovaginitis

The most effective treatments for Tendovaginitis usually come in the form of rest and activity modification, which are best combined with use of a splint or stabilising support. At WristSupports.co.uk, we stock a wide range of supports for Tendovaginitis, designed to help the tendons to rest and subsequently heal. To view our entire range of Supports for Tendovaginitis, click the yellow button below.


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