Pain in the wrist or forearm is not only annoying when trying to go about daily activities, but it can also be a symptom of a more severe condition.
Both carpal tunnel and tendonitis can affect an individual’s wrist, and while they both result in pain, they are caused and treated in different ways.
If you have wrist pain, especially from an auto accident or work-related injury, you should know the difference between carpal tunnel and tendonitis.
Read below for a quick guide on the difference between the two conditions to get the most appropriate care for you.
What is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
Carpal tunnel causes pain, numbness, or tingling in the hand, forearm, or wrist area. It happens when there is pressure on a major nerve that runs through the wrist.
The symptoms of carpal tunnel may get worse over time, so taking action early is critical. Early treatment may include rest or applying ice to the area. Wearing a splint, especially overnight while you are asleep, may help to reduce your symptoms.
There are also some medications to improve the symptoms, including anti-inflammatory drugs, which reduce swelling. Your doctor may also suggest corticosteroids, which are injections to relieve pain.
What is Tendonitis?
Tendonitis can occur in any of the tendons in the body, but the base of the thumb is one of the most common areas. If you have tendonitis at the base of your thumb or your wrist, you will feel pain in that area and may notice swelling.
In severe cases, you may also feel a grinding sensation at the location of the tendon.
Tendonitis is caused by inflammation (swelling) of the tendon, which ultimately causes pain. It is treated in many different ways based on severity. A brace, splint, or cast is used for mild cases to prevent to tendon from additional stress and therefore reducing the swelling.
Ice, anti-inflammatory medications, or physical therapy exercises may also be recommended to reduce the pain and swelling from tendonitis.
What Is the Difference Between Carpal Tunnel and Tendonitis?
Carpal tunnel and tendonitis may both cause pain in the affected area, but what makes them different is the underlying cause.
Tendonitis is usually a result of overusing the muscles, and therefore the tendons, on a regular basis. For example, if you do work that requires careful use of your hands, wrists, or fingers, you may develop tendonitis.
Carpal tunnel syndrome, on the other hand (pun intended), can occur as a result of long term overuse. If you do not address the issues from overuse, your tendonitis can also turn into carpal tunnel syndrome.
If you are looking for medical care related to tendonitis or carpal tunnel that was a result of your job or work conditions, there are doctors in Brooklyn that specialize in work-related injuries.
Now that you know the difference between carpal tunnel and tendonitis, what can you do?
If you or your doctor has determined that you have one of these issues, early intervention will help reduce the pain or other symptoms and get you back to work and the activities that you love to do.