Hand tendonitis can occur between the thumb and wrist (de Quervain’s tendonitis) or in the flexor tendons of the fingers, according to the article “Hand Tendonitis” on Arthritis-symptom.com, a repository of information from the National Institutes of Health. Hand tendonitis is usually caused by overuse of the hands or constant repetitive motions. Symptoms can include inflammation, swelling, burning and pain, which can make it difficult to grasp objects. Cures for hand tendonitis usually include a combination of rest, immobilization, ice, heat, medication, supplements, massage and exercise.
Rest, Ice & Heat
If you have hand tendonitis, it is best to refrain from any physical activity that involves that hand. Consider purchasing a splint or hand brace to help immobilize the hand you are not using. Rest and immobilization can prevent further aggravation of your hand tendonitis. Ice can reduce inflammation, swelling and pain. It should be compressed directly against your hand with an ice pack at 20-minute intervals throughout the day (every three or four hours). Elevating your hand above your heart will keep swelling and inflammation down. Once the initial inflammation has subsided, you can use heat (i.e. a heating pad) to promote blood flow to the tendon.
Anti-inflammatory medications such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) and naproxen (Aleve) can also reduce inflammation and pain, which can expedite your recovery from hand tendonitis. These Cox-2 inhibitors limit the effects of Cox-2 enzymes and prostaglandins, the body’s natural response to tendon irritation. For more severe symptoms, your doctor might prescribe oral steroids or give you a cortisone shot.
Supplements on the market such as glucosamine and chondroitin have been clinically proven to help hand tendonitis. These supplements can help build cartilage back up in the finger, thumb and wrist joint and increase synovial fluids (which reduce friction) for smoother joint movement.
Massaging the tendons in the hand can help promote blood flow to the area, bringing oxygen and nutrients necessary for healing. Massage can also cut down on scar tissue and increase flexibility in the tendons.
Once your inflammation has subsided, after a few days or one week, you can do basic hand exercises to stretch and strengthen the hand and finger tendons. One stretch is to simply flex your fingers outward as far as you can spread them, then close them. You can squeeze a tennis or rubber ball for strength, holding each movement for 10 seconds. Pushing your hand and finger underneath your wrist and holding that movement is another effective stretch.