Is It Tendonitis Or Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?

When you have that nagging pain with tingling in your hands and fingers, you might think you are suffering from carpal tunnel syndrome. In reality, it may be tendonitis in your wrist. Some of the symptoms are similar, so is it tendonitis or carpal tunnel syndrome? Let’s find out.

What Is Tendonitis?

Tendonitis is an inflammation of the tendon. When you have wrist tendonitis, overuse or repetitive motion at the wrist causes small tears in the tendon. In time these tears can become worse leading to inflammation.

It is normally caused by repetitive motions like playing sports, using a computer, writing, or certain physical work. It can also occur after a sudden injury, or be related to arthritis, diabetes, or even age. Arthritis is not the same as tendonitis, but one condition can aggravate the other.

With tendonitis you may experience stiffness and pain in the wrist area or sometimes a dull pain. It can decrease range of motion in your hand along with weakness when gripping something, typing, using a mouse, or playing with a computer game controller, as examples.

businesswoman with wrist pain

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is the compression of a nerve. CTS occurs when the median nerve that runs from our forearm through our wrist and hand becomes swollen. Many people initially think Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is the source of their pain, but find out later it is actually Tendonitis.

The cause for carpal tunnel syndrome is largely unknown, except it seems certain actions like typing, texting, being pregnant all cause pressure on the nerve causing it to swell.

How To Tell The Difference

The “tell” involves the location of the pain and discomfort. One is inflammation and the other is the compression of a nerve.

With CTS:

  • Pain occurs on the palm side of the wrist
  • The tingling moves to the thumb, index finger and middle finger
  • Some people experience itching

With Tendonitis:

  • The pain is on the other side of the wrist
  • There is numbness in the pinky finger
  • It can’t be CTS since the median nerve does not extend to the pinky finger

Chronic pain in the hand and wrist area should not be ignored nor self-diagnosed. Treatments for tendonitis can involve surgical intervention and all pain should be evaluated by a professional.

Contact OrthoNY for an evaluation if you are having pain or numbness in your hands or wrist.

As always, if you have any further questions or would like to schedule an appointment, please call (518) 489-2663 or request an appointment online today!