Tendons are tissues that connect muscles to bones. When a muscle contracts the force is transmitted through the tendon, which then pulls on the bone to make movement occur. The wrist joint is subjected to a lot of movement and the tendons in this area can become inflamed or irritated, causing pain and stiffness. If wrist tendinitis is suspected, there are some remedies that may help.
Rest and Splinting
Most cases of wrist tendinitis are caused by overusing the joint. Activities such as gardening, housework, typing, using hand tools, working at a cash register and others which require the wrist to bend repetitively, can cause problems. For this reason it is important to rest the wrist when the symptoms of tendinitis flare up. A physical or occupational therapist can also make suggestions regarding splints, wraps or braces that may help. Bracing the area can help to prevent the wrist from bending during everyday activities which allows the area to heal. In addition, there are ergonomic aids such as specialized keyboards, mouse pads and other tools that allow the wrist to rest while working.
Wrist tendinitis symptoms can be exacerbated by using the wrist joint improperly. It is important to use good body mechanics in jobs or everyday activities that require the use of this joint. The Permanente Medical Group recommends trying to maintain a neutral wrist position as much as possible. This means avoiding bending the wrist up or down when working with a computer keyboard or mouse, and while driving. Using tools, combs, toothbrushes, utensils and other grooming devices with large no-slip handles will help prevent having to tightly grip objects. Taking frequent breaks or alternating chores and activities will help reduce the chance of moving the wrist too much in any one direction.
Ice and Elevation
The goal of tendinitis treatment is to reduce the swelling and inflammation in the area. During a flare up the Mayo Clinic suggests applying ice to the wrist. This can be done for 15-to-20-minute periods throughout the day to help reduce swelling and it manages pain by numbing the area. Elevating the wrist above the level of the heart will also help to reduce inflammation. If these techniques do not successfully manage the symptoms, anti inflammatory and pain medications can be tried with a doctor's advice.
The usual medications that are used to treat wrist tendinitis can have side effects. If symptoms are not too severe, and with a physicians' approval, it may be helpful to try some complementary therapies. DrWeil.com claims that a chemical called DMSO (dimethyl sulfoxide) which is made from wood pulp may help to promote healing. This product found in health food stores can be applied externally for about a week to help resolve symptoms. Homeopathic medicines such as Ruta or Rhus Tox may also help when taken on a short-term basis. Herbal and homeopathic remedies can interact with other medications and some are poisonous so they should only be used under medical supervision.
Once the symptoms of wrists tendinitis subside it is important to develop a daily program of gentle stretching and strength training. Regular stretching will help to keep the joint flexible and stronger muscles will be able to work longer and harder without placing stress on the wrist joint. A physical therapist or trainer can design an appropriate program based on individual needs.