Tendon sheath inflammation is painful and makes it difficult to move. Affected joints lose strength and it is difficult to make movements that previously caused us no problems. Find out how this common traumatic condition is treated.
Treatment of tendon sheath inflammation is one of the most common trauma tasks. Along with tendinitis, it is one of the most representative tendon problems.
Tendons are a type of fibrous tissue that connects the muscles and bones of the body. They are essential for controlling the movement of various parts of the body.
This pathology is very common not only in athletes, but can affect anyone. Treatment of tendon sheath inflammation is essential to prevent future loss of usefulness of the affected tendon.
Tendon sheath inflammation – what is it?
Tendon sheath inflammation is an inflammation of the synovium, which is the area that lines and protects the tendons. Under normal circumstances, this structure produces a synovial fluid that keeps the tendon moist.
In the event of an injury in this area, fluid production may be disrupted. The cover itself catches fire as well. Both events that contribute to the tendon sheath inflammation lead to the tendon not working as it should, losing its mechanical usefulness.
Damage to any tendon may translate into mobility dysfunction. For example, if the tendon that is part of the shoulder joint is damaged, the arm most likely will not be able to move or will experience severe pain when trying to perform certain movements.
The causes of tendon sheath inflammation
The truth is that this pathology has multiple etiologies or causative factors. In general, we distinguish between acute and chronic tenosynovitis according to its duration. Both cause pain on palpation and restriction of movement.
It should be noted that, as we mentioned at the beginning, this is not just a disease that affects athletes. Anyone can suffer from it. However, it is true that most cases occur in people who make repetitive movements frequently.
The same is true for the same posture that persists over time, such as standing long. In some cases, tendon sheath inflammation is caused by calcium deposits, gout, or even high amounts of cholesterol.
In particular, Quervain’s tenosynovitis is one of the best known types. It affects the tendons of the wrist that are involved in the movement of the thumb. In some people, this pathology can be caused by an infection.
Tendon sheath inflammation – how to treat them?
Treatment for tendon sheath inflammation varies, mainly depending on the underlying cause. Treatment is based on reducing pain and inflammation. Therefore, the first measure to take is rest.
It is best to avoid any movements of the affected body part if possible. In some cases, doctors use immobilization with boards, rails or bandages. In addition, treatment based on anti-inflammatory drugs is usually used.
For example, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen are used. You can even infiltrate corticosteroids as long as the pain persists. Applying cold compresses to the sore area helps relieve inflammation. On the other hand, when an infection is the cause, specific antibiotics are used.
A paper published by Manuela Bertrán University explains that transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation is a pathology treatment option in cases of Quervain’s tenosynovitis. It is a technique that focuses on pain relief.
Another study from the Universidad de la Frontera found that the use of extracorporeal shock waves improves the inflammation that occurs in this process. Both are novel techniques that advance the approach to tenosynovitis.
Other recommendations for the treatment of this inflammation
Basic treatment of tendon sheath inflammation may improve the situation, but recovery may not be complete. In many cases, rehabilitation and physical therapy are needed to re-improve the condition of the tendon and make the area stronger.
The weakness that remains can be detrimental, especially in athletes who need to resume training and activity.
In fact, future injuries in this affected area are also prevented in this way. In some cases, the pathology returns and the only alternative is surgery. Surgical approaches vary and the choice of the method most appropriate to the clinical picture will depend on the traumatologist.
Overall, there is a tendency towards small incision based arthroscopy that leaves minimal scarring and has very little effect on the tissues.
Prevention of this ailment
Although the causes vary, there are general preventive measures for tendon sheath inflammation. The most important thing is to avoid repetitive movements in our daily lives. Additionally, muscles should be strengthened to improve joint stability.
Warm-ups during sports activities and personalized training sessions are essential to reduce the risk of future injuries. Excessive effort is hidden behind many traumas that lead to painful consequences.
In order to prevent the tendon from suffering from infection, it is necessary to take care of hygiene and proper wound healing. However, before any signs of bacterial colonization appear, the first step should be to see a doctor.