Wrist Tendonitis: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

Have you ever experienced a sudden pain and stiffness in your wrist? You may feel it after typing for several hours or using a computer mouse to finish a graphic design. Or, you may notice that excruciating pain after working on a task that requires throwing, gripping, and pinching. That should not be taken for granted because you may already be at risk of acquiring wrist tendonitis. 


What is Wrist Tendonitis?

Healthline.com simply defines wrist tendonitis as "the inflammation of the tendons in the wrist." In this medical condition, the tendons may rub against the bone or bodily tissues due to injuries or repetitive activities, and that may result in inflammation.

Medical News Today shared the same definition of wrist tendonitis. It also mentioned that "...tendonitis can occur as a result of an injury or repetitive motion that causes the tendon to rub against other bodily tissues, such as bone."

Another article describes wrist tendonitis as,

"Wrist tendonitis—sometimes spelled tendinitis—is the inflammation of one or more tendons in the wrist. This inflammation typically causes symptoms such as pain, swelling, stiffness, and/or warmth in the wrist."

Another article describes wrist tendonitis as a condition with inflammation and irritation of the tendons surrounding the wrist joints.

"Wrist tendonitis occurs at points where the tendons cross each other or pass over a bony prominence. These are possible sites of irritation and can lead to discomfort when moving the wrist joint."


Wrist tendonitis can happen at any age and may even affect the fingers, thigh, elbow, and other body parts.


According to Mayo Clinic, although tendinitis can occur in any tendon of the body; however, it is more common on the shoulders, wrists, heels, and knees. It also stated the following:

"Most tendonitis cases can be successfully treated with rest, physical therapy, and medications to reduce pain. If tendinitis is severe and leads to the rupture of a tendon, you may need surgery."

Other names given to tendinitis problems include Jumper's knee, Tennis elbow, Swimmer's shoulder, Pitcher's shoulder, and Golfer's elbow.

Causes of Wrist Tendonitis


Most often, the joints' inflammation is caused by simple and repetitive movements that lead to stress on the affected tendons over time. In some cases, wrist tendonitis is caused or triggered by some activities, such as:

- using computers (specifically typing)

- playing sports

- working physically

- writing

- injuries, such as hitting, bending, and falling

- aging

- weak wrist posture

- poorly positioned bones and joints

- arthritis

- diabetes

The Mayo Clinic also shared some risk factors of wrist tendonitis, including age, occupation, and some sports. As we get older, the tendons in our bodies become less flexible, which causes them to be prone to injuries.

In addition, several types of tendonitis can usually happen to individuals whose nature of jobs may involve vibrations, repetitive movements, frequent reaching, awkward positions, and forceful exertions.

The most common sports that may lead to tendinitis are bowling, baseball, basketball, running, golf, tennis, and swimming.

Can there be complications?

Yes, there can be complications when proper treatment is not given. If tendon irritation continues for days, weeks, or months, a condition termed "tendinosis" may occur. This involves degenerative changes specifically in the tendon, along with abnormal new blood vessel growth.

Symptoms of Wrist Tendonitis

It is not difficult to identify the symptoms of wrist tendonitis because of your hand's stiffness and pain. The affected area may feel sore and tender when pressure is applied. Mild swelling can also be observed. Besides, you may hear a creaking noise from an inflamed tendon. The pain caused by wrist tendonitis is described as a passive and dull ache to intense and sharp pain.

One of the most prevalent symptoms of wrist tendonitis is the feeling of weakness when doing the following activities:

- throwing

- typing

- gripping

- using a computer mouse

- pinching

- utilizing a computer gaming mouse


The kind of pain from wrist tendonitis include the following:

- pain in the arm that usually meets the hand and can radiate towards the elbow

- pain that is experienced in the wrist which is under strain leading to constant pain when not treated properly

- pain on the thumb side of the radial wrist and ulnar wrist

- pain that is experienced when pressure is applied on the hand, such as when pushing a chair or stand using the arms


These symptoms can significantly affect someone's work performance; therefore, proper medical treatment is required.


Common Treatments for Wrist Tendonitis


When you find out that you may have wrist tendonitis, it is best to consult an expert. Your physician may give you some various options for treating the condition. The most common treatments to alleviate the pain of wrist tendonitis include:


- doing some stretchings to enhance flexibility

- using splints and compression to ease overworked tendons and let it rest and heal

- using hot and cold compress/therapy to lessen swelling

- utilizing corticosteroid injections to alleviate inflammation

- using occupational therapy to solve functional behaviors that may cause and worsen tendonitis

- using non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs(NSAIDs) and acetaminophen

In cases when the condition of wrist tendonitis is extreme, surgery can be done.

How to Prevent Wrist Tendonitis

Prevention is always better than cure, as the famous saying goes. When it comes to preventing wrist tendonitis, the following tips are recommended:


- Get rid of repetitive movements of your hands and wrists

- Avoid doing activities that may be uncomfortable and painful for your wrists and hands

- Take breaks when working on jobs for prolonged periods

- Perform some stretchings to maximize the variations of joint motions. Do this after exercise while the muscles are still warmed up.

- Improve your routine when the activities are at risk of getting problems with the tendons. It will be best to ask for help from a professional when it comes to physical sports and exercises.

- Make sure to apply proper ergonomics to your workplace. If possible, ask an ergonomic expert to assess the workplace. Make sure to choose the right equipment such as standing desks, ergonomic chair, desk converters, and ergonomic mouse. These items will help promote better posture, as well as providing comfort and efficiency at work. Ergonomic tools will also help reduce the stress on the hands and other parts of the body, especially when working with repetitive activities.


Remember that it is crucial to consult with a doctor to identify the symptoms of wrist tendonitis and the possible treatment options.