What to Know About Wrist Tendonitis

We’ve all experienced the discomfort caused by writing too much for too long. Your hands are numb and your wrists are throbbing. Or perhaps you’ve played too vigorous a game of basketball and woke up the next day not able to move your wrist without agony. These are both examples of the kind of repetitive injury that can lead to inflammation in the tendons of the wrist, called wrist tendonitis (or tendinitis).

Anatomy of the Wrist

The wrist and hands are incredibly intricate machines of muscle, tendon, ligament, nerves, and bones. Tendons travel through a narrow sheath in the wrist to enter the hand and control the fingers and metacarpals (the bones in the palm). These are called flexor tendons, and they are critical for usage of the hands. It is these tendons that can often become inflamed and painful when exposed to repeated strain.

Those wrist tendons can also become problematic when one position is maintained for long periods of time, such as when asleep at night. This is because of compression on the tendons and nerves as one sleeps in certain positions. Either way, once the inflammatory process begins, it can persist until the underlying cause is corrected. In many cases this cause is a misalignment in the structures of the wrist, or the channel that the tendons go through as they pass over the bone is too narrow.

What Is Wrist Tendonitis?

When the flexor tendons of the wrist become inflamed and painful, this is called wrist tendonitis. It may be due to compression of the tendon between the bones of the wrist for a prolonged period of time, which can occur during sleep or due to acute or repetitive injury to the extremity. Either way, once the tendon becomes inflamed, it then may become swollen, red, hot, and painful to touch. In many cases, the pain is worse when putting weight on the palm of the hand, such as when leaning forward and bracing one’s self with the hand on a surface.

Similar conditions, such as carpal tunnel syndrome or a fracture, should be ruled out before a diagnosis of tendonitis is made. A healthcare professional should formally evaluate your wrist to know for sure if this is the diagnosis. Generally, one will have the aforementioned symptoms but may also have tingling and burning in the hand, inability to grasp things or a weakened grasp, numbness in the hand, extreme pain with flexion or extension of the wrist, and possibly a grinding sound (crepitus) in the wrist with movement.

How Can a Chiropractor Help?

Your local Charlotte chiropractor can help you if you suspect you may have wrist tendonitis. Dr. Grant Lisetor can evaluate your wrist and create an independent plan of action for your care. Adjusting the extremities and the spine can help improve overall health and reduce symptoms associated with wrist tendonitis. Reach out to Greater Life Chiropractic today to get started back on your journey to health.


May Jr., D. D., Varacallo, M. (2022). Wrist Sprain. In: StatPearls. StatPearls Publishing.  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK551514/