What is Thumb Tendonitis

When there is swelling and irritation along the thumb side of the wrist, the condition is called thumb tendonitis. When the area is irritated it causes the lining that is around the tendon to become inflamed which then changes the shape of the lining. As the lining becomes enlarged you will feel pain as well as tenderness along the thumb.

Anytime you experience a new way of carrying something you can develop thumb tendonitis. Pool players often experience thumb tendonitis because they are often picking up weighted objects with only a few of their fingers.


The individual who has thumb tendonitis may experience a pain on the side of the wrist by the thumb. The pain may be a sudden pain or it can be a pain that is gradually felt in increasing intensity.

As the individual continues to use the hand and thumb the pain becomes more noticeable. It will become increasingly more difficult to grasp or twist objects. It will become difficult to move the wrist or to move the thumb.

Another common symptom of thumb tendonitis is that there is numbness in the back of the thumb and the index finger, which is caused by the irritation of the nerve that is there.


The objective of treating thumb tendonitis is to relieve the pain that is felt. This relief is brought about in several ways. The first is to rest the thumb as much as possible. This means using a splint.

An anti-inflammatory medication may also be either injected into the tendon or you may be given an oral anti-inflammatory medication to take. This medication will help to reduce both the swelling and the pain of thumb tendonitis.

It is really important that you stop all activities that aggravate your thumb no matter how minor they seem. We use our thumbs for a surprising amount of activities. Anything from typing to holding an object to caressing a face.

If you are resting your thumb by using a splint and ceasing all activities where you are using the thumb, are icing the thumb to reduce swelling and taking anti-inflammatory medications without noticing any improvements then you should let your doctor know. Surgery may be an option for you if nothing else works. Surgery should only be used if your symptoms are severe.

Make sure that you cease any activities that will aggravate the thumb, that you use thumb splints and supports to help rest the thumb, that you help reduce the swelling and inflammation by using anti-inflammatory medications and that you follow all instructions given by your doctor.

If all else fails and you are in severe discomfort your doctor may recommend that you see a surgeon to explore the possibility of using surgery to bring relief.