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How Can Tenosynovitis Impact Musculoskeletal Health?

December 14, 2015 in Joint Pain

As you move through life, there are countless ways that you can begin to develop chronic pain in your muscles, bones and joints.

While traumatic injury is without a doubt one of the most common and diagnosable reasons for recurring discomfort in a particular area of the body, physical injury is not the only reason that you can begin to feel musculoskeletal pain developing. In fact, many common issues with bone and joint health revolve around degenerative or inflammatory conditions that can impair healthy musculoskeletal functions. While these conditions can also arise from recent trauma, it's important to note that inflammation and degeneration issues can stem from a broad range of factors.

If you've been experiencing sharp, nagging pain in the joints of your hands and feet, you may want to consider tenosynovitis as a possible cause. This is a fairly common issue that can cause chronic pain symptoms in the extremities as well as other joints throughout the body. Here is some basic information on how to recognize and deal with tenosynovitis.

What is Tenosynovitis?

According to MedlinePlus, tenosynovitis is an inflammatory condition that primarily affects the synovium, which is the protective covering of a tendon. This affects the flexibility and strength of the tendon connecting muscles to the skeletal structure. Tenosynovitis inflammation is overwhelmingly found in tendons located in the feet, wrists and hands. However, virtually every joint in the body can be subject to this condition.

The source noted that there is not always a clear reason for why tenosynovitis develops. Some cases may occur due to unknown or unrecognized factors, though there can be a variety of elements influencing the development of tendon inflammation. The most common causes of tenosynovitis include traumatic injury, strained use, repetitive movements of an infection. There are also certain inflammatory diseases that can trigger tenosynovitis.

As many cases of tenosynovitis are caused by repetitive strain injury, people who regularly use their hands, wrists and feet in physically demanding jobs are more likely to develop the condition than others. The same can be said for repetitive use of other tendons in the body as part of working conditions.

What Are the Signs & Symptoms of Tenosynovitis?

PubMed Health reported that inflammation of the tendons caused by tenosynovitis can lead to a range of symptoms. As the synovium becomes inflamed, it can cause joints in the hands and feet to swell up and develop a red rash or discoloring in the area. This swelling can also make it a challenge to move the affected joint without significant pain. Even during rest, the inflamed tendon can be sore and sensitive to touch.

In cases where tenosynovitis is caused by an infection, signs of the condition may be more severe. Individuals may experience intense fever along with swelling and a rash around the infected cut or abrasion. Depending on the severity of the infection, this type of tenosynovitis inflammation may need to be treated with surgery.

The Mayo Clinic reported that De Quervain's tenosynovitis is one of the more common forms of the condition, which primarily affects the tendons located in the thumb and corresponding side of the wrist. The condition is more prevalent in women than men, and middle-aged individuals between 30 and 50 years old are the most likely to develop it.

If left untreated, tenosynovitis can lead to further health complications. Inflamed tendons can lead to range of motion that is impaired for the long term. This can also reduce the strength of nearby muscles, making it difficult to rely on the hands, wrists and feet for sustained activity. Over time, tenosynovitis may also cause a tear in the tendon, permanently restricting movement.

What Are the Treatment Options for Tenosynovitis?

MedlinePlus noted that tenosynovitis can be effectively treated using a variety of techniques. As the primary concern of treatment is reducing inflammation in the synovium to restore strength and flexibility to the tendon, resting the affected area is one of the best ways to improve individuals' health outlook. A support to protect the tendon from further damage caused by unintended motion can be a helpful means of spurring recovery.

In severe cases of inflammation resulting from an infected wound, surgery may be the only way to minimize inflammation. However, this treatment method is rare. Doctors may also prescribe medications to kill the infection before it causes further damage to the musculoskeletal system.

Tenosynovitis resulting from repetitive usage also requires a change in lifestyle for inflammation and pain symptoms to be kept at bay. Individuals who jump into the same old routine of physical exertion at work are likely to see the condition return before long.

One great way to deal with the immediate pain of tenosynovitis is through the use of Dr. Ho's Pain Therapy System. This device uses transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation to gently massage the muscles and tendons using electrical pulses. The electrical stimulation can also be controlled to provide different levels of intensity and movement, relieving discomfort and promoting greater blood circulation in the area.

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