[이데일리 이순용 기자] The wrist is one of the parts in our body that moves a lot. Excessive use of the wrist can cause various hand diseases, including carpal tunnel syndrome. If your thumb or wrist is swollen and painful, you should suspect wrist tenosynovitis. Mothers with weakened muscles after giving birth, parents taking care of their children, or grandparents raising children in their twilight years frequently bend their wrists, increasing the likelihood of developing wrist tenosynovitis.
Tenosynovitis means inflammation of the tendon sheath or synovial fluid. Tendon sheath is a connective tissue that connects muscles and bones, and whenever a muscle is moved, tendons move back and forth within the sheath. Synovial fluid is the fluid for natural movement. Excessive use of muscles or joints can cause inflammation in the tendon sheath or synovial fluid.
Wrist tenosynovitis is an inflammation that occurs in the membrane surrounding various tendons on the inside, center, and outside of the wrist. It occurs in people who use their wrists a lot, such as mothers who have just given birth, handicraft workers, and cooks. For women whose muscles become weak after childbirth, the incidence is about three times higher than for men. Recently, there has been an increase in the number of grandparents taking care of infants and toddlers on behalf of busy couples, and wrist tenosynovitis can occur more easily when physical changes have already occurred due to aging. For office workers, the habit of frequently using smartphones and computers can also have an impact.
It can usually be caused by microscopic rupture of the tendon sheath surrounding the tendon or by infection with staphylococcus or tuberculosis bacteria. However, inflammation caused by overuse of muscles or joints is common. In addition, there is chronic tenosynovitis that appears after gout and rheumatoid arthritis.
If you have wrist tenosynovitis, the pain is severe when you move your thumb, making it difficult to use chopsticks or write. The thumb and wrist may swell along with pain, and severe pain may be felt when the wrist is pressed. As symptoms worsen, severe pain is felt even at rest or with light movement. Numbness in the wrist becomes worse and it becomes difficult to hold objects along with tingling symptoms. However, since tenosynovitis is not a bone abnormality, there are no abnormal findings on an X-ray.
For wrist tenosynovitis, you should refrain from using the inflamed area as much as possible and rest the overloaded area. In mild cases, medication such as anti-inflammatory drugs and painkillers is used, and even in severe cases, symptom relief can be expected with injection treatment in the early stages. Protecting the affected area with a brace or band to prevent it from moving is also helpful in treatment. In rare cases, surgery may be performed when inflammation is caused by stenosis or when recurrence continues despite drug treatment or injection treatment.
Wonhwan Kwon, head of Orthopedic Surgery at Seran Hospital, said, “Wrist tenosynovitis is the most common among injuries caused by overuse of the wrist, and pain can be felt even with light movements and the wrist may tingle,” adding, “The pain gets worse when bending and straightening the wrist or moving the fingers. “If you frequently drop objects, you should suspect wrist tenosynovitis,” he said. He continued, “Wrist tenosynovitis occurs frequently immediately after giving birth, in office workers who use a lot of smart devices, and in housewives who do a lot of housework.” He continued, “As it is caused by excessive use of the wrist, reduce excessive use of the hand and wrist on a daily basis and improve flexibility through stretching. “It is also helpful to develop muscle strength,” he emphasized.
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