Intersection Syndrome Wrist Pain from Overuse

Wrist pain makes daily tasks difficult. From taking a shower and brushing your teeth to typing on a keyboard, every minute there’s a reminder that something is wrong with your wrist.

While certain wrist conditions are well-known (such as carpal tunnel syndrome), others may leave you wondering what they are and how you can treat them. Such is the case with intersection syndrome.

What is Intersection Syndrome?

Intersection syndrome is a rare injury that mostly occurs in athletes who put a lot of pressure on their wrists (such as rowers, weight lifters, golfers, and tennis players). It can also develop in people who do manual labor with repetitive motion.

The condition arises when the tendons of the forearm and wrist become inflamed. It will cause pain on the posterior (top) of the wrist and is often confused with De Quervain’s tenosynovitis.

Intersection Syndrome Causes

Intersection syndrome is caused by overuse. Therefore, while practice is essential to perfecting your sports performance, so is taking adequate rest days to give your tendons time to recover.

Intersection Syndrome Symptoms

In addition to wrist pain, people with intersection syndrome may experience the following symptoms:

  • Tenderness
  • Irritation
  • Swelling
  • Grinding sensation when moving the fingers
  • Pain that radiates to the thumb and forearm

Symptoms worsen with wrist movement.

Intersection Syndrome Diagnosis

Your doctor will examine your wrist for swelling and tenderness, as well as listen for a squeaking sound from the tendon with movement. They may also order an MRI to confirm the diagnosis.

Intersection Syndrome Treatment

Treatment for intersection syndrome generally consists of resting the tendons for several days until the inflammation subsides. In mild cases, the RICE method should suffice. The RICE method includes:

  • Rest. Take a break from your activity of choice for five to seven days. In addition, don’t grab or carry any items unnecessarily.
  • Ice. Ice the affected wrist for 15-20 minutes at a time.
  • Compression. Wearing a compression sleeve improves blood flow and provides support to the affected tendons.
  • Elevation. Keep your wrist at heart level and sleep with your hands on pillows. This will help reduce swelling.

If the pain continues after one or two weeks, your doctor may recommend anti-inflammatory medication and/or a cortisone injection. Once the swelling has disappeared and you don’t feel pain, gradually return to your activity. If you’re an athlete, consult with your coach to ensure proper form.

In rare instances, surgery may be necessary to release pressure on the wrist tendons.

Intersection Syndrome Risk Factors

Risk factors include any activity that requires frequent, repetitive motions.

Request an Appointment at The Orthopedic Clinic Today

At The Orthopedic Clinic, we want you to live your life in full motion. If you’re experiencing wrist pain, let us help you. We’ll tailor a treatment plan that’s best for your lifestyle and get you back to doing the things you love.

Call us at (386) 255-4596 to schedule an appointment.