Physical Rehabilitation Medicine/Wrist tendonitis


QUESTION: I've been having mild pain in the wrist when I do pushups for the last month.  I suspected tendonitis and started to wrap it every time I did pushups and that relieved any pain.  A few days ago I really injured it and it has been hurting much more.  Most of the day, even resting.  It hurts on the thumb side of wrist.  It started an 1.5" below wrist, almost in the exact spot where people take their pulse.  I haven't worked and have been able to rest.   Yesterday I had it wrapped all day to prevent it hurting.  And woke up with pain now lower, about 4" from wrist.  Like it's affecting the muscle now.  Not sure if it was because of the wrap I had.  above that area all day.  Do you think if I just rest and ice that I could deal with this on my own?  What kind of exercises would I need when the pain finally goers away?

ANSWER: It is likely one of two things:  
1.  A ganglion cyst located at scapho-lunate interval OR
2.  Tendonitis of the flexor carpi radialis

I would recommend a wrist brace with the wrist in slight flexion.  You should be able to buy one at a drug store with a steel bar through the palm...Futuro makes one.  It likely has velcro on the top to anchor the brace and has a hole that your thumb goes through.  Don't do anything that hurts.  You can wrap it but the brace will work better.  Ice will only help if it is an acute injury versus a chronic one such as yours.  So it won't do much of anything.  If anything, heat will help to increase blood flow into the affected area and attempt to speed healing.

If it is not improving after 6 weeks of rest, go see a specialist.  You can find one at

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Thank you for your reply.  I was looking at anatomy pictures and the flexor capri radialis isn't where I feel the pain.  It is the tendon of the Brachioradialis on the thumb side.  Should I still get the same brace you recommended, the one with the bar in the palm and with the wrist slightly flexed?  Or would a different brace be needed?  Thanks a bunch!

I'm still also thinking of getting some electro acupuncture, as that as helped before with tendonitis.  


ANSWER: Look up Dequervain's tenosynovitis.  That look more like what's going on?

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Yes, I think that's exactly what it is.  It's hurting a little more closer to the wrist now.  Earlier in the week it was an inch and a half proximal.  

I found one of those futuro wrist wraps, gonna go pick one up now.  

If I do get acupuncture there, it seems like it is almost right under the pulse.  Which is an artery right?  Could the acupuncturist still put a needle in there so close to the artery?  

Thanks so much!


In that case, get a "thumb spica" that supports the thumb.  Avoid anything that causes ulnar deviation of the wrist or repetitive thumb or wrist motion.  It should get better over the next 2-3 weeks.  If not go see a surgeon for an injection.

I wouldn't mess with acupuncture.  I've seen tons of these and they either respond to brace/rest or they don't.

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Brian Neville, OTR/L, CWCE


I can answer questions about both conservative and post-operative rehabilitation for UPPER extremity injuries. These include but are not limited to: fractures, tendon repairs, tendon transfers, nerve repairs, lacerations, tenolysis procedures, TFCC injuries, repetitive motion disorders, reconstructive procedures. I have an advanced knowledge of UPPER extremity anatomy and industrial rehabilitation. I have extensive splinting skills for injuries to the upper extremity. Although not a physician or a surgeon I have worked closely with world renowned upper extremity specialists for over 10 years. I can give general information on what some of the most common upper extremity surgeries involve. I can reference those procedures as well. PLEASE DON'T ASK ME QUESTIONS ABOUT ANYTHING OTHER THAN THE NECK, SHOULDER, ARM/HAND. I'M NOT QUALIFIED AND KNOW ABSOLUTELY ZERO ABOUT BACKS/HIPS/KNEES/ANKLES/ETC. THANK YOU!!!


10+ years working closely with orthopedic and hand surgeons and their patients. I have treated patients with small lacerations to major reconstructive procedures. My knowledge base includes both conservative and post-operative rehab protocols and care for upper extremity injuries. I have treated patients all the way from day 1 post-op to return-to-work status.

Kentucky Occupational Therapy Association American Society of Hand Therapy National Nurses in Business Association Roy Matheson and Associates

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Occupational Therapist former Certified Hand Therapist (license currently inactive) Deep Physical Agent Modalities Instructor Certified Work Capacity Evaluator

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