Intersection syndrome is an overuse tenosynovitis that occurs around the intersection of the first and second extensor tendon compartments within the forearm. The conditions goes by an excessive array other names including peritendinitis crepitans, oarsmen's wrist, crossover syndrome, subcutaneous perimyositis, squeaker's wrist, bugaboo forearm, adventitial bursitis and APL syndrome.1 It occurs proximal to the location of the more common condition De Quervain tenosynovitis.
There is usually a history of overuse through repetitive wrist flexion and extension, or less commonly direct trauma. Weightlifters, rowers, racket sport players, horseback riders and skiers are particularly prone.1,2 Patients complain of radial wrist or forearm pain exacerbated by flexion and extension. Swelling amd tenderness at the area of intersection may be present. 2
The musculotendinous junctions of the first extensor compartment tendons (abductor pollicis longus and extensor pollicis brevis tendons) intersect the second extensor compartment tendons (extensor carpi radialis longus and extensor carpi radialis brevis tendons) at an angle of approximately 60° at a location aproximately 4cm proximal to Lister's tubercle. In intersection syndrome there is tenosynovitis particularly of the second extensor compartment possibly caused by friction from the overlying first compartment tendons.2
The diagnosis is often made clinically but may be found when wrist and forearm pain is investigated with MRI.
The main finding is peritendinous oedema concentrically surrounding the second and first extensor compartments centred around the point of crossover ~ 4cm proximal to the Lister tubercle. Sometimes the oedema may extend as far distally as the radiocarpal joint. There may or may not be tendon sheath fluid or fluid found in the interval between the tendon sheaths at the intersection point. Increased intrasubstance tendon signal may be seen indicating tendinosis. 1,3
Treatment and prognosis
Conservative management with immobilisation, activity modification and anti-inflammatory medications is usually sufficent to control the symptoms. Local injection of corticosteroid can also be effective. Surgical treatment exists for recalcitrant cases. 2
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- 1. Lee RP, Hatem SF, Recht MP. Extended MRI findings of intersection syndrome. Skeletal Radiol. 2009;38 (2): 157-63. doi:10.1007/s00256-008-0587-4 - Pubmed citation
- 2. Intersection Syndrome by David R Steinberg from emedicine.com. Intersection Syndrome
- 3. Costa CR, Morrison WB, Carrino JA. MRI features of intersection syndrome of the forearm. AJR Am J Roentgenol. 2003;181 (5): 1245-9. AJR Am J Roentgenol (full text) - Pubmed citation
Synonyms & Alternative Spellings
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|Abductor pollicis longus syndrome (APL) syndrome||✓|