Is It Carpal Tunnel Syndrome or Tendonitis of Wrist?

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Wondering what the difference is between carpal tunnel vs tendonitis? When most of us think of wrist pain and tingling fingers, we think of carpal tunnel. However, carpal tunnel syndrome isn’t as common as people believe, and your pain may actually be the product of a different condition. Wrist tendonitis has similar symptoms and results from similar activities, like spending eight hours a day on the computer or doing strenuous repetitive work. What is the difference between carpal tunnel vs. tendonitis? Keep reading to learn what they are and how you can treat them.

What Causes Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?carpal tunnel vs tendonitis

Carpal tunnel syndrome occurs when the nerve that runs down your forearm into your wrist is under too much pressure and becomes swollen. The pressure on the nerve causes numbness and burning in your fingers (except the little finger) and your hand. If left untreated, the nerve begins to fail, and your symptoms become worse as permanent damage sets in. The problem usually occurs as a result of repetitive movements, but it can also be brought on by pregnancy and certain nervous system disorders.

What Causes Wrist Tendonitis?

Like carpal tunnel, tendinitis is the product of repetitive movements and overuse. When your tendons become overworked, they become inflamed and can cause tears in the tissue. When you have tendonitis, you will have wrist pain and find your fingers or hands tingle. You typically also experience muscle weakness as a result of the tears. However, one of the key ways that anyone can tell the difference between carpal tunnel vs. tendonitis is that tendonitis will impact all your fingers – even your little finger. Remember that the median nerve doesn’t reach your “pinky” finger, so symptoms of carpal tunnel never appear there.

Treating Carpal Tunnel vs. Tendonitis

Although the conditions differ, you’ll find that treating them is regularly similar, particularly in mild to moderate cases. You may find that wearing a supportive brace may help relieve the symptoms. Anti-inflammatory medications can also help you deal with the swelling and inflammation. Lifestyle changes are also important to prevent a resurgence of the inflammation or injury once under control. You might learn to take more breaks, use a supportive keyboard, or use active rehabilitative techniques to strengthen your wrist. In cases where your condition progresses to a point where these treatments don't help, you may find that you need more invasive interventions to prevent permanent damage. The most severe cases of tendonitis may require surgery to remove the damaged tissue. Thankfully, surgical interventions are much less invasive than they use to be, which means you can not have the surgery with smaller incisions and faster recovery compared to past techniques.

How to Live without Wrist Pain

Carpal tunnel and tendonitis come with similar symptoms, but they have different causes, which means they manifest slightly differently. One of the ways you can tell that you have carpal tunnel vs. tendonitis is if you don't feel the burning or tingling sensation in your pinky. Thankfully, you can treat both, and it's easier to prevent further damage when you see a treatment provider sooner rather than later. Are you struggling with wrist pain and aren't sure what's causing it? We believe in treating the problem - not the symptoms. Get in touch to get to the root cause of your tingling fingers so that you can live pain-free.