Thumb tendinitis involves irritation, inflammation and swelling of the tendons on the thumb side of the wrist at the base of the thumb. If you have thumb tendinitis, you probably feel pain when making a fist, gripping objects or turning your wrist.
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Tendinitis occurs when irritation causes the lining around the tendon to swell. This results in pain and tenderness, and makes it difficult for the tendons to move normally.
A doctor decides on tendinitis treatment based on several factors, as explained by the University of Virginia Health System. He considers your age, medical history, overall health, tolerance for medications and severity of the tendinitis.
Your symptoms may resolve if you avoid activities that cause pain and swelling. Your physician may recommend resting your thumb and wrist by wearing a splint.
A physiotherapy program can be beneficial for thumb tendinitis. This involves exercises that stretch and strengthen the tendons of the wrist and thumb.
You also can take oral anti-inflammatory medication, and the doctor may administer corticosteroid injections into the tendon lining to reduce swelling and relieve pain. Repeated injections are usually not advised, as noted by the Mayo Clinic, as they can weaken the tendon and lead to tendon rupture.
If your thumb tendinitis symptoms are severe and do not improve, your physician may recommend surgery.
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