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Tenosynovitis - Symptoms, Causes & Treatment Options

Tenosynovitis  Treatment

What is Tenosynovitis?

Tenosynovitis is a condition characterized by inflammation of the synovium, a protective sheath surrounding a tendon. This inflammation can result in pain, swelling, and difficulty moving the affected joint. Tenosynovitis commonly affects the wrists, hands, elbows, and feet.

The synovium is a thin layer of tissue that lines the inside of the tendon sheath and produces synovial fluid, which lubricates the tendon and allows it to move smoothly within the sheath. When the synovium becomes inflamed, usually due to overuse, repetitive strain, or injury, it can lead to tenosynovitis.

Primary Symptoms of Tenosynovitis

Symptoms of tenosynovitis may include:

  • Pain: Pain along the affected tendon, particularly with movement or pressure.

  • Swelling: Swelling and tenderness around the affected tendon.

  • Difficulty Moving: Difficulty moving the affected joint, accompanied by stiffness or decreased range of motion.

  • Crepitus: A creaking or crackling sensation with movement of the affected tendon.


  • Warmth and Redness: Increased warmth and redness over the affected area, indicating inflammation.

Tenosynovitis Causes and Risk Factors

Several factors may contribute to the development of tenosynovitis, including:

  • Overuse or Repetitive Strain: Engaging in repetitive activities or movements that place stress on the tendons, such as typing, gardening, or playing musical instruments, can lead to irritation and inflammation of the synovium.

  • Injury or Trauma: Direct trauma to the tendon or surrounding area can cause inflammation and irritation of the synovial sheath.

  • Infection: Bacterial or fungal infections can lead to inflammation of the synovium, resulting in infectious tenosynovitis.

  • Underlying Medical Conditions: Certain medical conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis, gout, or diabetes, can increase the risk of developing tenosynovitis.

Tenosynovitis Diagnosis by Medical Professionals

Medical professionals diagnose tenosynovitis through a combination of methods, including:

  • Physical Examination: Examination of the affected joint, assessment of pain, swelling, and range of motion, and evaluation of other signs of inflammation.

  • Medical History: Gathering information about the onset, duration, and characteristics of symptoms, as well as any activities or injuries that may contribute to the development of tenosynovitis.

  • Imaging Tests: X-rays, ultrasound, or MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) scans may be ordered to assess the extent of inflammation and rule out other conditions such as tendon tears or fractures.

Tenosynovitis Treatment Approach

The treatment approach for tenosynovitis typically involves a combination of conservative measures aimed at reducing pain, inflammation, and promoting healing. Here is a comprehensive overview of the treatment options for tenosynovitis:

  1. Rest and Activity Modification: Resting the affected area and avoiding activities that exacerbate symptoms is often the first step in treatment. Limiting repetitive motions or activities that put strain on the affected tendon allows it time to heal.

  2. Ice Therapy: Applying ice packs to the affected area for 15-20 minutes several times a day can help reduce pain and inflammation. Ice therapy is particularly effective during the acute phase of inflammation.

  3. Immobilization: In some cases, immobilization of the affected joint with a splint or brace may be recommended to reduce movement and provide support to the tendon, allowing it to heal properly.

  4. Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs): Over-the-counter medications such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) or naproxen (Aleve) may be used to alleviate pain and reduce inflammation associated with tenosynovitis. It's essential to follow the recommended dosage and consult a healthcare professional before taking NSAIDs, especially for long-term use.

  5. Physical Therapy: Physical therapy plays a crucial role in the treatment of tenosynovitis. A physical therapist can develop a customized exercise program focusing on stretching and strengthening exercises to improve flexibility, reduce stiffness, and promote proper biomechanics. Additionally, manual therapy techniques such as massage, ultrasound, or electrical stimulation may be used to alleviate pain and improve soft tissue healing.

  6. Corticosteroid Injections: In cases of persistent or severe inflammation, corticosteroid injections may be administered directly into the affected tendon sheath to reduce swelling and alleviate pain. These injections are typically performed under ultrasound or fluoroscopic guidance to ensure accurate placement.

  7. Orthotic Devices: Custom orthotic devices, such as shoe inserts or wrist splints, may be prescribed to provide support and alleviate strain on the affected tendon during daily activities.

  8. Activity Modification and Ergonomic Changes: Modifying activities and making ergonomic changes in the workplace or home environment can help reduce strain on the affected tendon and prevent recurrence of tenosynovitis. This may include adjusting workstations, using proper lifting techniques, and taking frequent breaks during repetitive tasks.

  9. Surgical Intervention: In rare cases where conservative treatments fail to provide relief, surgical intervention may be considered. Surgical options may include tendon release or debridement to remove damaged tissue and alleviate pressure on the affected tendon.

It's essential to consult with a healthcare professional, such as a primary care physician, orthopedic specialist, or physical therapist, for an accurate diagnosis and personalized treatment plan for tenosynovitis

With proper management and adherence to treatment recommendations, most individuals can experience significant improvement in symptoms and return to normal activities.

Can Tenosynovitis Be Cured Without Treatment?

While mild cases of tenosynovitis may improve with rest and self-care measures, seeking early intervention and appropriate treatment is essential for managing symptoms, promoting healing, and preventing chronicity.

Tenosynovitis Recovery Period

The recovery period for tenosynovitis varies depending on the severity of symptoms, the effectiveness of treatment, and individual factors such as age and overall health. With proper management and adherence to treatment recommendations, many individuals can experience significant improvement in symptoms within a few weeks to a few months.

Tenosynovitis Complications and Takeaway

Complications of untreated or poorly managed tenosynovitis may include chronic pain, stiffness, and limitations in functional activities. However, with a comprehensive treatment plan tailored to individual needs, most individuals with tenosynovitis can effectively manage their symptoms and return to normal activities.

For personalized care and effective treatment options for tenosynovitis, visit Bliss Chiropractic and Physiotherapy Centre in Cheras. Our experienced team offers comprehensive services to help you recover from tenosynovitis, alleviate pain, and regain strength and mobility in your affected joints. Contact us today to schedule your consultation and take the first step towards healing.


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