Tendons connect muscles to bone. Flexor tendons connect muscles in the forearm to the bones in the fingers. The two flexor tendons in each finger (and one in the thumb) enable the ability to bend the fingers down to the palm. If there is injury to a flexor tendon, it becomes difficult or impossible to do things like hold an object, pinch or any do other grasping activities.
There are several types of trauma that can lead to an injury of a flexor tendon.
One common cause of injury are deep lacerations, or cuts. This may partially sever the tendon, which can lead to difficulty bending the finger(s). A complete severing of the tendon will make it impossible to bend the finger in toward the palm at all. This injury is of course painful, but you also may notice numbness if the nerves near the tendons are also severed.
Flexor tendons can also be injured if the finger is pulled in a traumatic way, causing the tendon to tear. “Jersey Finger” is an injury in which the flexor tendon is pulled from the bone, named for athletes who get fingers caught in other players’ jerseys during sports like football and soccer.
Finally, patients with arthritis that has caused the weakening of the flexor tendons may experience a rupture.
No matter the cause of this injury, it is necessary to have a hand doctor examine and treat it. If left untreated, the tendons can remain severed and you can lose the ability to bend your fingers.
Treatment will vary depending on the severity of the injury. If the tendon is not severely severed, splinting and physical therapy may be an option. If the tendon is completely severed, it will have to be reattached surgically. Surgery is often more successful when performed soon after injury, so it’s important to see a hand specialist quickly after the trauma occurs. Hand therapy often plays a role in the recovery process as well. It’s vital to follow the post-surgical advice given to optimize the outcome.
If you have sustained a hand injury while playing sports, while at home or at work, the team of hand specialists at Midwest Hand Surgery are here to help. Our surgeons have specialized experience in treating flexor tendon injuries. Our on-site surgical suites are conveniently located in our Chicagoland offices in Palos Heights, Elmhurst and Lockport. Our team also includes hand therapists who work with our hand doctors to work to achieve the best outcome for your hands. Call us at 630-359-6888 or click here to request an appointment.
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Flexor tendon injuries make it difficult or impossible to do things like hold an object, pinch or any do other grasping activities. Read about the causes and treatments.
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