Tenosynovitis is the inflammation
Inflammation is part of the complex biological response of vascular tissues to harmful stimuli, such as pathogens, damaged cells, or irritants. Inflammation is a protective attempt by the organism to remove the injurious stimuli and to initiate the healing process...

 of the fluid
In physics, a fluid is a substance that continually deforms under an applied shear stress. Fluids are a subset of the phases of matter and include liquids, gases, plasmas and, to some extent, plastic solids....

-filled sheath (called the synovium
Synovial membrane is the soft tissue found between the articular capsule and the joint cavity of synovial joints....

) that surrounds a tendon
A tendon is a tough band of fibrous connective tissue that usually connects muscle to bone and is capable of withstanding tension. Tendons are similar to ligaments and fasciae as they are all made of collagen except that ligaments join one bone to another bone, and fasciae connect muscles to other...

. Symptoms of tenosynovitis include pain, swelling and difficulty moving the particular joint where the inflammation occurs. When the condition causes the finger to "stick" in a flexed position, this is called "stenosing" tenosynovitis
Stenosing tenosynovitis
Stenosing tenosynovitis is the progressive restriction of the sheath surrounding a tendon, causing inflammation .Two common diagnoses fall into this category:* DeQuervain's Syndrome...

, commonly known as "Trigger Finger
Trigger finger
Trigger finger, trigger thumb, or trigger digit, is a common disorder of later adulthood characterized by catching, snapping or locking of the involved finger flexor tendon, associated with dysfunction and pain...

". This condition often presents with comorbid tendinitis.


Treatments for tenosynovitis depend on the severity of the inflammation and location. Mild tenosynovitis causing small scale swelling can be treated with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID) such as Naproxen, ibuprofen or diclofenac
Diclofenac is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug taken to reduce inflammation and as an analgesic reducing pain in certain conditions....

 (marketed as Voltaren and other trade names), taken to reduce inflammation and as an analgesic. Resting the affected tendons is essential for recovery; a brace is often recommended. Physical or Occupational therapy may also be beneficial in reducing symptoms.

More acute cases are treated with cortisone
Cortisone is a steroid hormone. It is one of the main hormones released by the adrenal gland in response to stress. In chemical structure, it is a corticosteroid closely related to corticosterone. It is used to treat a variety of ailments and can be administered intravenously, orally,...

 (steroid) injections, then a course of paracetamol
Paracetamol INN , or acetaminophen USAN , is a widely used over-the-counter analgesic and antipyretic . It is commonly used for the relief of headaches and other minor aches and pains and is a major ingredient in numerous cold and flu remedies...

 and ibuprofen
Ibuprofen is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug used for relief of symptoms of arthritis, fever, as an analgesic , especially where there is an inflammatory component, and dysmenorrhea....

 for pain. Outpatient surgery can be used to enlarge the synovium. The sprained tendon or limb is splinted for a week or so.


Causes of tenosynovitis are unknown. Repeated use of hand tools can precede the condition, as well as arthritis or injury. Tenosynovitis sometimes runs in families and is generally seen more often in males than in females. The causes for children are even less well known and have a recurrence rate of less than 1-5% after treatment.

Tenosynovitis is also linked to infectious arthritis caused by bacteria such as Neisseria gonorrhoae.

Exams 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 to which it is attached to see whether you experience pain.

See also

  • Synovitis
    Synovitis is the medical term for inflammation of the synovial membrane. This membrane lines joints which possess cavities, known as synovial joints. The condition is usually painful, particularly when the joint is moved. The joint usually swells due to synovial fluid collection.Synovitis may...

  • DeQuervain's syndrome
    DeQuervain's syndrome
    De Quervain syndrome , is a tendinosis of the sheath or tunnel that surrounds two tendons that control movement of the thumb.-Eponym:It is named after the Swiss surgeon Fritz de Quervain who first identified it in 1895...

  • Remitting seronegative symmetrical synovitis with pitting edema
    Remitting seronegative symmetrical synovitis with pitting edema
    Remitting seronegative symmetrical synovitis with pitting edema is a rare syndrome identified by symmetric polyarthritis, synovitis, acute pitting edema of the back of the hands and/or feet, and a negative serum rheumatoid factor.If no underlying disorder can be identified , this entity has an...

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