Two major problems associated with tendons include tendonitis and
tenosynovitis. Tendonitis, inflammation of a tendon (the tough cords
of tissue that connect muscles to bones) can affect any tendon, but is
most commonly seen in the wrist and fingers. When the tendons become
irritated, swelling, pain, and discomfort will occur.
Tenosynovitis is the inflammation of the lining of the tendon
sheaths which enclose the tendons. The tendon sheath is usually the
site which becomes inflamed, but both the sheath and the tendon can
become inflamed simultaneously. The cause of tenosynovitis is often
unknown, but usually strain, overuse, injury, or excessive exercise
may be implicated. Tendonitis may also be related to disease (i.e.,
diabetes or rheumatoid arthritis).
Common tendon disorders include the following:
epicondylitis (tennis elbow) - A condition characterized
by pain in the back side of the elbow and forearm, along the thumb
side when the arm is alongside the body with the thumb turned away.
The pain is caused by damage to the tendons that bend the wrist
backward away from the palm.
Rotator cuff tendonitis - A shoulder disorder characterized
by the inflammation of the shoulder capsule and related
DeQuervain's tenosynovitis - The most common type of
tenosynovitis disorder characterized by the tendon sheath swelling
in the tendons of the thumb.
Trigger finger/trigger thumb - A tenosynovitis condition in
which the tendon sheath becomes inflamed and thickened, thus
preventing the smooth extension or flexion of the finger/thumb. The
finger/thumb may lock or trigger suddenly.