Get answers to your Shoulder and Elbow questions.
Inflammation of the tendon sheath
The goal of treatment is to relieve pain and reduce inflammation. Rest or keeping the affected tendons still is essential for recovery.
You may want to use a splint or a removable brace to help keep the tendons still. Applying heat or cold to the affected area should help reduce the pain and inflammation.
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen can relieve pain and reduce inflammation. Local injections of corticosteroids may be useful as well. Some patients need surgery to remove the inflammation surrounding the tendon, but this is not common.
For tenosynovitis caused by infection, your health care provider will prescribe antibiotics. In some severe cases, surgery may be needed to release the pus around the tendon.
If there is no infection, a steroid injection may be used to decrease inflammation along the tendon sheath.
After you have recovered, do strengthening exercises using the muscles around the affected tendon to help prevent the injury from coming back.
Most people fully recover with treatment. However, if the condition is caused by overuse and the activity is not stopped, tenosynovitis is likely to come back. In chronic conditions, the tendon may be damaged and recovery may be slow or incomplete.
If tenosynovitis is not treated, the tendon may become permanently restricted or it may tear (rupture). The affected joint can become stiff.
Infection in the tendon may spread to other places in the body, which could be serious and threaten the affected limb.
Call for an appointment with your health care provider if you have pain or difficulty straightening a joint or extremity. If you suspect infection, contact your health care provider immediately.
Geiderman JM, Katz D. General principles of orthopedic injuries. In: Marx JA, ed. Rosen's Emergency Medicine: Concepts and Clinical Practice. 7th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Mosby Elsevier;2009:chap 46.
Schmidt MJ, Adams SL. Tendinopathy and bursitis. In: Marx JA, ed. Rosen's Emergency Medicine: Concepts and Clinical Practice. 7th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Mosby Elsevier;2009:chap 115.
© 2011 University of Maryland Medical Center (UMMC). All rights reserved.
UMMC is a member of the University of Maryland Medical System,
22 S. Greene Street, Baltimore, MD 21201. TDD: 1-800-735-2258 or 1.866.408.6885