Flexor tendinitis is a common ailment of the hand and wrist that results from inflammation of the flexor tendons. These tendons are located in the palms of the hands as well as in the inner sections of the wrists. These bands of strong connective tissues attach to the muscles of the hand and act as a series of pulley structures, allowing the complex movements of the hands and fingers. When the flexor tendons become inflamed and irritated, movement becomes painful and the wrist muscles become sensitive to pressure.
The flexor tendons are made from both elastin and collagen, making them flexible as well as strong. They’re surrounded by synovium, a sheath of tissue that allows for fluid movement. When this type of tendinitis occurs, small tears appear in the individual tendon fibers. The tears trigger the body’s natural inflammatory response, and if left untreated the tendons can become irregular and thickened. The result is quite painful hand movement, sometimes requiring injections of steroid medications as a treatment measure. In the most serious cases, hand surgery may be required to relieve this condition and restore normal hand movement.
One of the most common causes of this problem is repetitive hand movements over a period of time. Examples include sewing, typing or working on a factory assembly line while repeating the same task over and over. People with certain existing health conditions are also more prone to flexor tendinitis in many cases, including arthritis, Type 2 diabetes or gout. The tendency to develop this problem is partially hereditary as well. Some people’s genetics simply dictate that more fluid naturally collects in the spaces between their tendons and muscles, which can exacerbate the issue of tendinitis. Common recommended remedies include ice packs, gentle wrist exercises and the use of ergonomic wrist supports. If at all possible, sufferers are advised to avoid or reduce the repetitive motions that cause the condition. Doctors advise cold compression therapy with wrist wraps to help relieve the pain and stiffness of this common inflammation of the wrists.
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