What is the outlook?
Recovery usually takes weeks to several months. How long depends on which tendon or tendon sheath is affected. It also depends on whether it is possible to rest the affected area easily. For example if you are left-handed and have developed tenosynovitis in your left wrist brought on by a particular activity that you don't usually do, this is likely to settle more quickly than if you have it in your right wrist and can't identify what triggered it.
If your problem is work-related, your employer has a legal duty to try to prevent the development of tendinopathy or tenosynovitis by making the work environment comfortable and doing whatever is reasonable to achieve this.
Can tendinopathy or tenosynovitis be prevented?
There is no proof that anything can prevent a bout of tenosynovitis or tendinopathy. However, the following are sensible suggestions that may help to prevent either coming back:
- Avoid a sudden increase in repetitive movements and overuse of the affected area. This may be very difficult if your job involves repetitive movements. If it is a problem that keeps returning, you should discuss this with your employer. A change of duties may help.
- Exercises to strengthen the muscles around the affected tendon may help. It may be best to seek advice from a physiotherapist to find the best exercises to use.
- If taking up a new sport or activity, build up your level of exertion gradually and make sure you have appropriate equipment - for example, footwear for running in.
- Take regular short breaks from long or intense, repetitive activity.
Further reading and references
Andres BM, Murrell GA; Treatment of tendinopathy: what works, what does not, and what is on the horizon. Clin Orthop Relat Res. 2008 Jul466(7):1539-54. Epub 2008 Apr 30.
Childress MA, Beutler A; Management of chronic tendon injuries. Am Fam Physician. 2013 Apr 187(7):486-90.
Extracorporeal shockwave therapy for refractory tennis elbow; NICE Interventional Procedure Guidance, August 2009
Autologous blood injection for tendinopathy; NICE Interventional Procedure Guidance, January 2013
van Tulder M, Malmivaara A, Koes B; Repetitive strain injury. Lancet. 2007 May 26369(9575):1815-22.
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