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Are you an avoid rower or tennis player?  Do you have pain on backside of your forearm, just above your wrist?  Or do you hear a squeaking when you flex your wrist back and forth?  If so, you may have something called Intersection Syndrome.

What Is It?

Not to be confused with DeQuervain’s Syndrome, Intersection Syndrome is a condition that affects the first and second compartments of the wrist extensor muscle group.  The first compartment is comprised of muscles responsible for thumb and wrist motion and the second compartment is mainly responsible for wrist motion only.  Intersection Syndrome itself believed to be the result of repetitive friction at the intersection of these muscle’s tendons as they cross over each other, creating tenosynovitis (link), or inflammation of the protective covering of the tendon.

How To Diagnose It?

Intersection Syndrome can be diagnosed with a clinical examination in the office by doing some special tests to reproduce your symptoms.  Swelling, pain over the affected area, and crepitus to the area can all be identifying symptoms of Intersection Syndrome.   X-rays would not be able to detect any soft tissue inflammation in the area, though it could be a helpful tool to rule out other different diagnoses.   Some practitioners find obtaining an MRI of the area helpful for diagnostic purposes, while others find the use of a dynamic ultrasound a more cost and time effective way to localize the problem.  

How To Treat It?

As with most soft-tissue treatment, the RICE method can be used.  Oral or topical anti-inflammatory medications may be helpful as well to reduce pain and swelling.  If there is minimal improvement with conservative treatments, a cortisone injection could be considered as a next step.  Another great use of the ultrasound is to use that as a guidance tool for the cortisone injection, guaranteeing accuracy for the injection into the area.  Often a stretching program is recommended following the injection to keep the area from developing any scar tissue, and therapy could be considered to help improve overall symptoms after the cortisone injection. 

Related Physicians

The providers at Kansas City Bone and Joint Clinic each have their own areas of specialty. Click on the providers below to read more about them.