There are two types of tendons in the hand, extensor and flexor tendons. Extensor tendons allow you to straighten your fingers while the flexor tendons allow you to bend them.
Extensor tendons are located on the back of the hands and directly on the bone just beneath the skin. Because of their location, they are vulnerable to injury. A minor cut or a jammed finger can cause the tendons to detach from the bone.
Beginning just beyond the middle of the forearm, flexor tendons attach to the bones of the fingers through fibrous rings, known as pulleys. These pulleys hold the tendons against the bones and enable the tendons to move the joints more effectively.
Tendon injuries can occur from a laceration or injury to the forearm, palm side of the wrist, hand or fingers. It may appear minor from the outside but may have caused internal damage to the underlying nerves and blood vessels. Signs of a hand tendon injury:
Treating a hand tendon injury within 7-10 days of the initial injury is crucial for the most successful outcome. If left untreated, permanent issues with strength, function and/or deformity may occur. After a physical examination and imaging testing, your hand doctor will determine your treatment path. In some cases, a custom splint, physical therapy and targeted exercises will remedy the injury. In other cases, outpatient surgery may be required to repair the damaged tendon, blood vessels and/or nerves. Recovery typically takes a minimum of 3-4 months to return to normal activities.
Hand tendon injuries can be challenging to treat. Even after extensive therapy, some patients may experience long-term stiffness. These cases may require a follow up surgery to release scar tissue to improve mobility.
If you suspect you have a hand tendon injury, contact the team of hand specialists at Midwest Hand Surgery by calling 630-359-6888 or clicking here to request an appointment.
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