Tendonitis / Tenosynovitis

Plymouth Orthopaedic and Sports Injury Clinic

What is it?

Inflammation and swelling of tendons or the tendon lining or sheath.


Pain and swelling and sometimes a grating sensation along the line of the affected tendon, aggravated by use.

What causes it?

Anything that causes the area to swell or inflame, such as an injury, overuse or some medical conditions such as inflammatory arthritis. There is not always a clear cause.


Rest – avoid using the affected tendon to allow the inflammation to settle
Pain relief - Anti-inflammatory tablets, or gels that can be applied to the affected area (e.g. Ibuprofen tablets or gel) can help reduce inflammation
Splints – worn day and night for a few weeks to immobilise and rest the affected tendons and settle the inflammation.
Steroid injection – If the above measures fail, steroid (a powerful anti-inflammatory) can be injected around the affected tendon.
Surgery – If all else fails, day-case surgery may be advised to release the tendon and relieve pain.

Will it come back?

Tendonitis can recur. A change of the pattern of use of the hand may be required to reduce the risk of recurrence – e.g. alteration of workstation set-up. Even surgery does not completely guarantee permanent relief of symptoms. This should be discussed with your surgeon.