Extensor Tendonitis

The term “Extensor Tendons” refers to a group of tendons that exist in both the hands and feet. The extensor tendons localized to the hands run from the fingers and thumbs to the wrists. The extensor tendons in the feet run across the tops of the feet and attach the toes to the muscles around the shin, with very little padding to protect them from injury. 

Extensor Tendonitis describes an inflammation of these tendons, usually caused by overuse from sports or other activities.

Symptoms of Extensor Tendonitis

The pain usually builds gradually as use of the injured tendon continues.

The tendons may also weaken. This weakness can affect the ability to move the fingers. Using your hands for an extended period of time may also make the pain worse. 

Extensor tendonitis in the hand causes pain and stiffness in the top of the hand, often around the wrist. Patients may also feel numbness or tingling around the wrist or on top of the hand.

Causes of Extensor Tendonitis

Inflammation in the Extensor Tendons of the hand usually comes from overuse. Working manual labor or playing sports that involve a lot of throwing or other wrist action can stress the tendons. Patients not used to manual labor who suddenly engage in large amounts of activity with their hands have a high risk of developing Extensor Tendonitis.

Treatment of Extensor Tendonitis

Doctors recommend resting the sore tendons for both hand and foot extensor tendonitis. Using Ice and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can similarly reduce inflammation. 

Strengthening exercises and stretching can help regain tendon strength and flexibility, as well as encourage a larger range of motion. Depending on the seriousness of the tendonitis, patients may require physical therapy. Physical Therapy can help patients learn a variety of stretches and strengthening exercises.

In very serious cases, physicians may occasionally offer Steroid Injections. The injections may temporarily weaken or restrict the use of the hand, but will reduce pain and swelling.

Extensor tendonitis usually only presents a temporary problem that will resolve itself naturally with rest, ice, and other treatments. Tendonitis should not present much of an issue if handled promptly. However, the problem can end up progressing if ignored.