What Is The Difference Between Tendonitis and Carpal Tunnel?

Posted on May 1st, 2021 by Orthopaedic Specialty Group

Carpal tunnel syndrome and tendonitis are two serious ailments that affect millions of individuals each year. Both health conditions cause pain and more uncomfortable symptoms and also occur in the wrist. However, these conditions are very different, occur in separate areas of the wrist, and require their own individual treatment.

Carpal Tunnel

Also known as median nerve compression, carpal tunnel syndrome is a condition that affects your hands and wrist, causing tingling, numbness, and weakness. Carpal tunnel syndrome occurs when there is pressure on the median nerve that runs down your arm into a passageway in the wrist called the carpal tunnel. This nerve helps with movement of your wrist and fingers except for your pinky finger, and also gives you feeling in your thumb.

Often, there is no single cause for carpal tunnel syndrome. Instead, it is usually caused by a combination of risk factors such as being a woman, a wrist fracture or dislocation, chronic nerve-damaging or inflammatory conditions, obesity, and body fluid changes.

Some signs and symptoms of carpal tunnel include: 

  • Weakness in your hand and trouble holding things
  • A tingling or itching sensation in your palm, thumb, index finger, middle finger, or arm.
  • Shock-like feelings that move throughout your fingers.


Tendonitis is inflammation or irritation of a tendon, the thick fibrous cords that connect muscles to the bone. This condition causes intense pain and tenderness near your joints and can occur in any of your tendons in the body, but it’s most common in your wrists, elbows, shoulders, and knees. 

This condition often develops from the frequent motion of the area, likely from playing sports or working. If you continue the damaging movements, the injury will worsen. Those who play sports such as tennis, bowling, golf, and basketball or have a job that requires heavy physical exertion are the most at risk of developing tendonitis.

Some signs and symptoms of tendonitis include:

  • Dull aches in the affected area directly or in the limb
  • Pain at the touch of the affected area
  • Tenderness around the tendons and joints
  • Mild swelling 

If you believe you have carpal tunnel syndrome or tendonitis, be sure to seek a diagnosis and treatment from a doctor so you don’t have to struggle with your pain and discomfort alone.

Orthopaedist in Connecticut

It’s crucial to seek expert medical treatment if you are dealing with problems or pain associated with your bones or joints. Give the professionals at Orthopaedic Specialty group a call at (203) 337-2600 and let us know how we can help you! Don’t let that pain hold you back from living your life. Your health and safety are our top priority.