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Tenosynovitis: all about tendon inflammation Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

Tenosynovitis is tendinitis, an inflammation of the tendon, associated with inflammation of the synovial sheath that surrounds and protects the tendon.

What is tenosynovitis?

Tenosynovitis is usually a complication of tendinitis , inflammation of the tendon. It associates tendonitis and inflammation of the synovial sheath, which corresponds to the protective sheath surrounding the tendon.

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What are the different types of tenosynovitis?

Tenosynovitis can affect different tendons in the body. Depending on the location of the inflammation, it is possible to distinguish:

  • tenosynovitis of the hand and wrist;
  • tenosynovitis of the arm and shoulder;
  • tenosynovitis of the foot and ankle;
  • Tenosynovitis of the leg and knee.

The most common forms are tenosynovitis of the hand and wrist, which include:

  • the tenosynovitis of the thumb , also called tenosynovitis of De Quervain, in reference to the Swiss surgeon Fritz De Quervain who was the first in 1895 to describe this inflammation affecting the sheath of the tendons of the long abductor thumb muscle and extensor digitorum thumb muscle;
  • Tenosynovitis of the wrist, which can affect the tendons of the extensor or flexor muscles of the wrist.

What are the causes of tenosynovitis?

Tenosynovitis is mainly caused by tendon microtraumastasis. This damage can be caused by:

  • repetitive or prolonged movements ;
  • intense or unusual stresses of a muscle ;
  • poor posture ;
  • tendon injuries ;
  • Tendon aging.

Tenosynovitis can also be the result of other factors such as:

  • certain rheumatic diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis , ankylosing spondylitis , or gout ;
  • certain metabolic diseases such as diabetes or hypothyroidism ;
  • certain infections such as tuberculosis ;
  • A pregnancy.

Who is affected by the risk of tenosynovitis?

Given the causes of this tendon inflammation, the risk of tenosynovitis is greater in:

  • people who perform repetitive actions , particularly in the context of their professional activity;
  • sportsmen ;
  • People suffering from rheumatic pain.

Regarding the tenosynovitis of De Quervain, it is more often diagnosed in people aged between 30 and 50 years. It occurs mainly in women, with a proportion of one man to 10 women.


What is the risk of complication?

In the majority of cases, tenosynovitis can be treated effectively. Nevertheless, inflammation can sometimes be persistent and debilitating.

What are the symptoms of tenosynovitis?

Tenosynovitis is manifested by pain in the affected tendon. These pains can appear suddenly or gradually. They are generally intense, even disabling, with discomfort when performing certain movements.

In some cases, pain may be accompanied by tendon swelling and redness.

What is the treatment of tenosynovitis?

Treatment of tenosynovitis is similar to that of tendonitis. In most cases, this inflammation can be effectively treated by combining:

  • a rest phase to allow the tendon time to repair itself;
  • Ice application to reduce pain
  • anti-inflammatory therapy, which can be prescribed orally, dermally or by infiltration for the most painful forms;
  • A rehabilitation phase, with massages, stretching and specific exercises to limit the risk of recurrence.

In the most severe cases, a surgical operation may be considered.

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