Wrist and Elbow Tendonitis


Whether you’re a devoted golfer, tennis player, or a weekend warrior, sports or activities with repetitive motions put you at risk for wrist and elbow tendonitis. If you’re experiencing pain and tenderness in your wrist or elbow, you don’t have to hang up your racquet or club for very long. Mark A. Yaffe, MD, at Barrington Orthopedic Specialists has extensive experience treating all types of tendonitis. Call Barrington Orthopedic Specialists today to schedule a consultation with Dr. Yaffe.


What is tendonitis?

Your tendon connects your muscles to your bones. Tendonitis happens when your tendon becomes inflamed or irritated through repetitive motion, trauma, strain, or overuse. Because about 40-50% of racquet sports players get tendonitis on the outer side of their elbow joint, this type of elbow tendonitis is commonly called tennis elbow. Pain on the inner part of the elbow is sometimes referred to as golfer’s elbow. Tendonitis is also common in the wrist, shoulder, knee, and heel.

What causes wrist and elbow tendonitis?

Even though elbow tendonitis is often called tennis or golfer’s elbow, you can get this condition even if you’ve never set foot on a court or golf course. Both wrist and elbow tendonitis are caused by repetitive motions of your hand, wrist, and forearm. In addition to athletes, plumbers, office workers, carpenters, and painters are also at risk for developing tendonitis.

Repetitive movements can put a strain or stress on your tendons that can eventually lead to micro-tears in the tissue. Tendonitis can affect people of any age, but it’s more common in people over age 40 because your tendons become less flexible as you age.

One type of common wrist tendonitis, called DeQuervain’s tendinitis, occurs when the tendon on the thumb side of the wrist becomes irritated. It commonly affects pregnant and middle-aged women.

What are symptoms of wrist and elbow tendonitis?

Symptoms usually occur at the inflamed tendon and are most acute when you move the affected area. They include:

  • Pain, often described as a dull ache
  • Tenderness
  • Swelling


How are elbow and wrist tendonitis diagnosed?

At Barrington Orthopedic Specialists, Dr. Yaffe conducts a thorough physical exam and medical history. He examines the problem area, looking for tenderness and swelling as well as a limited range of motion or weakness. He may order an X-ray or MRI to determine the extent of the damage and to rule out a fracture or other condition.


How is wrist and elbow tendonitis treated?

Dr. Yaffe offers a wide range of treatment options to help you return your regular activities, pain-free, as soon as possible. Depending on the location and severity of your tendonitis, treatment options include:

  • RICE (rest, ice, compression, and elevation)
  • Nonprescription anti-inflammatories and pain relievers such as ibuprofen and aspirin
  • A splint, brace, or sling
  • Corticosteroid injection
  • Physical therapy
  • Surgery, in rare instances

Call Barrington Orthopedic Specialists today for a consultation with Dr. Yaffe.

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