Tendinitis is a painful inflammation of the tendons – in this case, those of the wrist and hands. This inflammation can result from injuries, repetitive use in stressful or awkward tasks, and similar sources. Pain, stiffness of the wrist or hand joints, swelling, an unpleasant “stuffed” feeling inside the wrist, and inability to complete even ordinary tasks without addition pain and irritation resulting are all hallmarks of this unpleasant condition.
Tendinitis can cramp your lifestyle, affect your productivity at work, interfere with your driving, and reduce your enjoyment of various hobbies and pastimes. Being interrupted by a sharp, hot twinge of pain every time you flex your wrist is a distraction and burden, while the stiffness and weakness that often accompany tendinitis cause an objective, physical degradation of your hands’ function.
Fortunately, there are ways to deal with tendinitis without resort to a doctor or a surgeon – though you should probably see a doctor regardless and consult with them before beginning a home treatment program. The core of any good treatment and rehabilitation program designed to free you from tendinitis at least partially is a selection of well-chosen exercises.
Note that anti-tendinitis exercises are very helpful in many cases, but they are by no means a magical cure. There are cases of tendinitis which are too serious for any exercises to help. There are also many which can improved, but not entirely banished. Some damage is permanent, and there is not always a complete cure.
Go into your tendinitis-defeating exercise program with realistic expectations. Exercises of this type will help you restore quite a bit of lost function and achieve a much greater level of comfort, but you will need to impose some limits on your activities in order to avoid developing a full-blown case of tendinitis again in a few weeks or months.
You will also need to carry out your exercise program regularly for some time before positive results appear – be patient, and don’t overdo your efforts in an attempt to hurry the process. It is better to work slowly and build certain results, than to rush and injure yourself worse.
Potential Wrist Problems that You Are Counteracting
A basic understanding of how your wrist is constructed and what portions of your hands and wrists you will be exercising will help you analyze the sensations you are feeling while carrying out these exercises.
A bundle of nine tendons and three major nerves passes through the carpal tunnel in your wrist. These physical features are all concerned with making your hand work properly. The trio of large nerves provides the sensitivity which characterized our hands and allows us the fine motor control that permits everything from typing on a keyboard to painting a delicate porcelain vase or performing brain surgery. Swelling that affects the nerves will produce numbness, tingling, or pain in the hands and wrists.
The nine tendons are all hooked up to your finger joints, pass through the carpal tunnel, and are anchored further up your arm to give leverage to their action. One tendon connects to the single joint in the middle of your thumb, while the other eight tendons connect to the two joints in the middle of each finger. The knuckles are not the endpoints of any of these tendons.
Nature intends for the tendons and the major nerves to glide smoothly back and forth through the carpal tunnel as you move your wrists, hands, and fingers. All of these structures are rubbery and stretchy, but can develop problems with overuse, age, or injury.
Tendinitis – What It Is
Tendinitis is caused by strain or injuries, and involves swelling and irritation of the tendons. This produces stiffness, pain, and sometimes external swelling of the wrist as well. With the tendons and nerves squeezed together in the carpal tunnel due to their expansion from irritation, they rub against each other as they work, and may even form small adhesions.
The hand exercises devised to help with tendinitis will not strengthen your hands (other than, perhaps, to a tiny, accidental degree). They are meant to loosen the tightness in the carpal tunnel, eliminate adhesions, and promote the internal lubrication that lets the tendons move smoothly and painlessly. You can find more details about these exercises on the following pages.