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Wrist Tendonitis Treatment

by Patty Weasler, RN May 06, 2020 0 Comments

Woman wearing wrist brace

When managing pain and inflammation of tendonitis in the wrist, treatment options can vary. Not every treatment works for everyone but by starting off with conservative home remedies and working your way up to medical treatment, if necessary, you can reduce the symptoms of wrist tendonitis. Take a look at our list of treatment options to help get you back to work and all the activities you enjoy!

Home Remedies

Occasionally wrist tendonitis is caused by sprains or other injuries but most of the time it’s an overuse injury caused by repetitive motions. If the wrist pain is caused by a mild injury or if it’s from overuse then home remedies are a perfect place to start for treatment.

  • Rest

    One of the best ways to treat injured tendons in the wrist is to rest them. If you know which movements have caused your tendinitis either stop doing them or modify the movements to give your wrist a rest. Many people have a really hard time resting injuries because it puts them on the sidelines. But it is a necessary treatment to let your body do its job and decrease swelling in the inflamed tendons and heal.

    Did you know? Typing is one of the most common activities known to cause wrist problems.

    Learn more about how to avoid wrist pain from typing in our full article.

  • Stretching & Exercises 

    Wrist stretching will improve your range of motion, flexibility, and help reduce the likelihood of injury. Stretch in the morning when you wake up and are stiff to help get the blood flow moving and reduce soreness. Set up an appointment at your local physical therapy or occupational therapy office to develop a stretching plan specific to your needs.

    Wrist Stretches and Exercises

  • Strength-Building Exercises

    The wrist joint is comprised of many different muscles, tendons, and ligaments. All these pieces work together to perform everyday movements like gripping and typing. You need strength in your arms and hands to make these movements. Regular strength-building exercises will help you move more efficiently and lead to less chance of an injury.

    Wrist Strengthening Exercises

  • Hot and Cold Therapy

    Hot and cold therapy work in very different ways, yet the purpose of both treatments is to heal an injury. Cold therapy with an ice pack or cold bath, works as an anti-inflammatory to reduce swelling and pain. Use cold therapy in 20-minute intervals after an injury or before an activity that will irritate your wrist.

    Heat soothes injuries by increasing the blood flow which brings more nutrients and oxygen to the affected area. Try placing a heating pad or warm towel over your wrist. Avoid heat during the initial injury phase as it can increase swelling and pain.

    Learn how to properly alternate hot & cold therapy

  • Medication

    Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are over-the-counter medications like ibuprofen that will minimize tendinitis pain and swelling. NSAIDs are a useful treatment when used in combination with other treatments like stretching, rest, and exercise. Always talk to your doctor or pharmacist before starting a medication to ensure there are no potential interactions with other medications.

  • Splinting

    A splint will immobilize your wrist letting you still perform your regular activities without causing further damage to your wrist. You can wear a splint during the day or even at night. Some splints will fully immobilize your wrist, whereas others will allow slight movement. All splints should allow for full finger movement. If you are unsure which splint is right for you, talk to your physical therapist or doctor.

    Choosing the best wrist support for you.

Medical Treatment

If home remedies are not enough to treat your wrist tendonitis then it might be time to seek medical treatment. Thankfully, there are multiple options when treating wrist tendonitis to help you fully recover. Check them out below.

  • Surgery

    Surgery for wrist tendonitis is typically reserved for the most severe cases that do not respond to other treatments. During the surgery, the doctor will release the tendon sheath that has become too tight around the tendons. This will allow for free tendon movement. In some cases, the surgeon will also need to remove damaged tissues and to create more space in the joint. 

  • Corticosteroid Injections

    Steroid injections oftentimes called cortisone injections are used to decrease swelling and pain in the wrist joint. Cortisone is an anti-inflammatory medication and some patients may need multiple injections for full relief. Though steroids are typically an effective treatment they need to be used sparingly in some cases to prevent weakening of the tendons.  

  • Physical and Occupational Therapy

    Another great option to treat inflammation of the tendons is to get treatment from a physical or occupational therapist. These two professions are extensively trained in managing and treating wrist injuries. The therapist will be able to evaluate your wrist and provide exercises and stretching suggestions. If you need surgery, a physical or occupational therapist can help you during your recovery phase.

When to Seek Medical Attention

Wrist tendonitis is a common condition that usually is treated conservatively. Occasionally, the injury is too severe and needs medical attention. It’s always important to get a professional diagnosis before you perform any treatment, to prevent further damage. Also seek medical attention if you have any of the following symptoms in your arm, hand, or wrist:

  • Numbness 
  • Pain that gets better then comes back
  • Severe pain
  • Loss of sensation or feeling
  • Inability to grip an object
  • Loss of motion or strength

Safe and Effective Wrist Tendonitis Treatment

Wrist tendonitis is a common condition that causes pain and swelling in the wrist and hand. Treating tendon injuries with home remedies like rest, splinting, and stretches are usually enough for most people. However, in more severe cases medical treatment is necessary. If you suffer from a wrist injury or wonder if you have wrist tendonitis talk to your doctor for a diagnosis. With consistent treatment, you will be back to doing everything you love in no time. 





Patty Weasler, RN
Patty Weasler, RN

Patty Weasler is a freelance health writer and nurse. She is certified in critical care nursing and has been practicing for over 10 years. Patty lives in Milwaukee, WI with her husband and three children. She enjoys spending her time with family and educating people about their health.

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