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Hand Tendons

Common Ailments that Afflict Hand Tendons

By definition, hand tendons are the tough cords of tissue that connect your bones to your muscles in your hands. They are a very important part of your hand, and your body in general, but unfortunately they also attract a variety of medical conditions that can be painful and make moving your hand difficult.

Arthritis is one common ailment that can affect hand tendons. Arthritis is basically inflammation of the joints. It can also be inflammation of the tendons. Arthritis can be very painful and even debilitating in some instances so it is important that you work with your doctor to come up with a strategy to minimize the pain and discomfort, as well as to get the full use of your hand.

Tendonitis and tenosynovitis are the two most common ailments that afflict hand tendons, however. Tendonitis is the inflammation of the tendon. Any of the tendons can actually be affected although it usually affects the fingers and the wrists most frequently. Pain, swelling, and general discomfort can be experienced with this condition, as well as irritation.

On the other hand, tenosynovitis is the inflammation of the lining of the tendon sheaths that surround the tendons. DeQuervain's tenosynovitis is the most common type of tenosynovitis.
The tendon and the sheath can both become inflamed at the same time, although it is usually just the sheath that suffers from inflammation. Injury, strain, excessive exercise, and overuse can all cause tenosynovitis, although sometimes the cause is not known. At times, it can also be the result of other underlying medical conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis or diabetes.

Other medical conditions that can affect the hand tendons include medial epicondylitis, lateral epicondylitis, rotator cuff tendonitis, and a condition known as trigger finger or trigger thumb.

Medial epicondylitis is also known as baseball elbow or golfer’s elbow. As you might imagine, it is a condition that is usually caused by damage to the tendons from a motion that bends the wrist in the direction of the palm. Pain is typically felt from the elbow all the way to the wrist, as well as on the side of the forearm, too.

On the other hand, lateral epicondylitis is also known as tennis elbow. This is also caused by damage to the tendon which is caused by bending the wrist backwards. The pain is felt on the back side of the forearm and elbow, and along the thumb, too.

Rotator cuff tendonitis is a condition that is characterized by inflammation of the shoulder and the tendons related to the shoulder. It is felt more in the upper arm and shoulder than in the hand, but the pain can sometimes spread down toward the wrist as well.

Lastly, trigger finger, or trigger thumb is also a type of tenosynovitis where the sheath becomes thickened and inflamed. This might cause the finger or the thumb to lock and be unable to move, or else very painful to move.

There are a variety of treatment options available for medical conditions that affect hand tendons. In extreme cases, surgery might be recommended. However, most conditions can be successfully treated with steroid injections, anti-inflammatory medications, splinting, or activity modifications, depending on the condition.

If you suddenly notice pain in your tendons that is directly related to a fall or to an injury then it is important that you seek medical attention to ensure that you haven’t broken a bone. In addition, if you try treating the pain with over the counter medications and home remedies and are unsuccessful then you should seek medical attention as well. Oftentimes, the condition can worsen if the same activity is done over and over again.



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