What Is Tenosynovitis?
While commonly linked with Tendonitis, Wrist Tendonitis, Thumb and Finger tendonitis, and having similarities to and responding to the same treatment, it requires some extra specific treatment and care to make the pain go away.
You probably already know what Tendonitis is.
What you will find on every other site out there is that Tenosynovitis is ‘Inflammation of the tendon sheath’, a very painful condition.
While technically true, it doesn't really help you to do anything about it.
That's what this website is for. Effective treatment you can do yourself.
The fact is, Tenosynovitis is a very different animal than Tendonitis. There are many shared factors , and the DYNAMIC very much consists of the same factors, but there are a few specific behaviors that come with tenosynovitis that one needs to be aweare of.
Because it's really the same dynamic, the methods that fail to help Tendonitis also fail to help this even more painful problem.
TRUE: Tenosynovitis is an irritation and inflammation of a tendon sheath.
FALSE: The common prescriptions effectively treat the pain and reverse the problem.
Corticosteriod shots, anti-inflammatories, splints and rest are the common prescriptions.
Corticosteroid shots are prescribed in hopes that the cortisone will knock out the worst of the pain.
Even -if- this works in the short term and you don't get any painful or harmful side effects (like the needle puncturing the tendon sheath, which injures it and increases the intensity and duration of your pain), injections don't reverse the dynamic that caused Tenosynovitis in the first place.
Same thing with Anti-inflammatory medications like Ibuprofen.
Doctors routinely prescribe over the counter and/or prescription strength anti-inflammatories in the hopes that that will do the trick.
I'm usually against splints and rest for Tendonitis related issues, but for Tenosynovitus they can be very helpful in the short term. More on that down the page. Tenosynovitis shares some of the dynamic of Tendonitis, but with Tenosynovitis, the Pain Causing Dynamic that is at work in the entire area also has a laser-like focus on the sheath that the tendon slides through.
Repetitive and strained motion of the tendon through the tendon sheath can irritate the tendon sheath.
When this happens, a Process of Inflammation sets in.
And of course most people keep doing that repetitive motion until the pain is so severe you -have- to stop...
Depends. Some medical sources say 'Anywhere'. Some say something like what I say, that....
Technically one can get it anywhere you have a tendon with a tendon sheath. Not every tendon has a sheath. This shows up primarily in the wrists and hands and ankles and feet.
In ten years of professional practice I have only ever seen it occur in the forearm/wrist/hand area.
Probably because in our culture we are primarily active with our hands in repetitive motion uses, and are mostly sedentary so it doesn't have a chance to show up often in other body areas.
Just like you can get extensor tendonitis and flexor tendonitis, you can get flexor tenosynovitis and/or extensor tenosynovitis.
You can get Tendonitis anywhere there is muscle and tendon connection.
See: What Is Tendonitis?
You can get Tenosynovitus anywhere there is muscle and tendon and tendon sheath.
Protip: Tendonosis may or may not be involved.
Tendonitis pain can hurt. It can even become debilitating.
But it’s got NOTHING on Ten-OW!-synovitis pain!
An acutely irritated, inflamed tendon and/or tendonitis injury hurts.
But when this special kind of inflamed tendon irritation kicks in...look out.
When you move that tendon through the sheath...
...you may know what I mean when I say "It’s a special kind of pain."
And generally, tendonitis aches, then it is a bother, then it hurts, then it goes away, then it hurts again, and worse, and worse.
Tenosynovitis generally comes on FAST, and STRONG.
And it STAYS, unless you do the RIGHT things for it.
A special and potentially crippling variation of Tenosynovitis is Trigger Finger, or 'Stenosing Tenosynovitis'.
Like any dynamic, certain things will help, and certain things will not help.
Here are four things that won't help:
Rest is usually on my list of things that don’t truly help. In this case, it is very VITAL to rest the body part and use it as little as possible. Every time you move the tendon, it aggravates the tendon sheath.
It doesn’t take much aggravation to keep the sheath acutely inflamed. For the short term while you do other beneficial things, immobilization is good.
Splints in general, and Wrist Splints and Wrist Braces for wrists and hands, are USUALLY on my list of methods to avoid. In this case, they are useful to help you immobilize the body part to keep the tendon from aggravating the tendon sheath. But just for the very short term.
Ice and Ice Dipping. It is vital to reduce the acute inflammation that is causing all the severe pain. Learn How To Reduce Inflammation.
Once the inflammation and pain is down to minimal levels you can add in light stretching and massage to make the tight muscles attached to tendon relax and lengthen, thus taking tension off the tendon.
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