Accessibility Tools

What Is Tendonitis of the Thumb?

Tendonitis is a common overuse injury that can affect any of the tendons in the body. These strong yet flexible tissues connect muscles to bones. While tendons can sustain a significant amount of wear and tear, they can become stretched or inflamed as a result of repetitive motion. Tendonitis of the thumb, for instance, can develop as a result of constant typing, writing, or texting.

When tendonitis develops in a thumb, it can make it difficult to move the entire hand. The underside of the hand may feel sore or tender, and minor swelling may be present as well.

How is tendonitis diagnosed?

Unlike most orthopaedic injuries, tendonitis can usually be diagnosed through a simple physical exam. X-rays and CT scans are usually unnecessary.

Tendonitis treatment

While tendonitis can make certain movements and activities painful, the discomfort is usually temporary. You may need little more than rest and a few short-term activity modifications to manage your pain. Over-the-counter medications such as aspirin and ibuprofen can help with your discomfort, and gently stretching your hand and fingers can also provide short-term relief.

If your tendonitis persists for several weeks or months, you may decide to explore clinical treatments as well. Nonsurgical options that you might consider include corticosteroids, thumb abductor tendon sheath injections, and hand therapy. If your tendons are severely damaged, you could also talk with your physician about surgically removing scar tissue or repairing a tendon that has separated from bone.

At Advanced Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine of Houston, TX, we offer a variety of surgical and nonsurgical therapies for tendonitis of the thumb. Our approach to treatment prioritizes conservative therapies whenever possible, and many of our patients are able to find relief from their pain without operative care. However, we do perform minimally invasive surgeries for patients with severe thumb tendonitis. Our fellowship-trained, board-certified and double-board-certified orthopaedists would be happy to walk you through all of the available options and help you find the treatment (or treatments) that are most appropriate for your needs.

To request an appointment at any of our orthopaedic clinics throughout Houston, Texas, contact us today.