Tenosynovitis

Alternative Names

Inflammation of the tendon sheath

Definition of Tenosynovitis

Tenosynovitis is inflammation of the lining of the sheath that surrounds a tendon (the cord that joins muscle to bone).

Causes, incidence, and risk factors

The synovium is a lining of the protective sheath that covers tendons. Tenosynovitis is inflammation of this sheath. The cause of the inflammation may be unknown, or it may result from:

Signs and tests

A physical examination shows swelling over the involved tendon. The health care provider may touch or stretch the tendon, or have you move the muscle where it is attached to see whether you experience pain.

Treatment

The goal of treatment is to relieve pain and reduce inflammation. Rest or keeping the affected tendons still is essential for recovery.

Expectations (prognosis)

Most people fully recover with treatment. However, if the condition is caused by overuse and the activity is not stopped, tenosynovitis is likely to come back. In chronic conditions, the tendon may be damaged and recovery may be slow or incomplete.

Review

Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Medical Director, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, University of Washington, School of Medicine; and C. Benjamin Ma, MD, Assistant Professor, Chief, Sports Medicine and Shoulder Service, UCSF Department of Orthopaedic Surgery. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc. – 7/28/2010

ADAM Medical Encyclopedia

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