Flexor Tendon Injuries Treatment Specialist Q&A
Flexor tendon injuries are traumatic injuries to the tendons of the flexor digitorum superficialis and flexor digitorum profundus caused by laceration or trauma. The common symptoms of a flexor tendon injury are an open injury on your hand, wrist, or forearm, an inability to bend joints of your finger, and pain when attempting to bend your finger. If you or a loved one would like to know more about flexor tendon injuries, their causes, and treatment, contact Florida Hand Center today! For more information, contact us or schedule an appointment online. We have convenient locations in Port Charlotte and Fort Myers FL to serve you.
Table of Contents:
Tendons are tissues that connect muscles to bone. When the muscles contract, tendons pull on the bones causing a part of the body, such as a finger, to move. The tendons on the top of the hand, known as extensor tendons, straighten the fingers; the tendons on the palm side of the hand bend the fingers; these are the flexor tendons.
The flexor tendon is what allows the fingers to make a fist, grip or pinch objects. When it is cut or injured, it can be difficult to bend the fingers or thumb.
Common signs of flexor tendon damage include:
• An open wound, such as a cut, on the palm of the hand
• The inability to bend one or more of the finger joints
• Pain on bending the finger
• Tenderness along the finger on the underside of the hand
• A numb fingertip
If a flexor tendon is completely torn or ruptured it will result in the movement of part of the arm or hand being severely impacted. The severity of this restriction will depend on where the injury is located and can involve just a small area of the hand. Because the flexor tendons in the forearm, wrist, and hand lie very close to nerves and arteries they can also be affected, causing numbness, tingling and a lot of bleeding. These additional injuries are more common if the flexor tendon damage is caused by a laceration, and in these cases prompt medical attention should be sought, particularly if there is any change in function of the arm. Flexor tendon injuries do not heal by themselves and will need medical intervention. They frequently require surgery to put the injured tendon back to its normal position and it is often easier to treat soon after the injury occurs.
After the doctor has finished their examination of the hand, they may place it in a splint for protection. If the tendon is completely torn, it will require surgery. Since tendons tear in different ways, the surgeon will have different methods of repairing them. Surgery is usually performed on an outpatient basis, within 7 to 10 days of the injury. However, immediate surgery will be necessary if the injury is restricting blood flow to the hand or finger. The doctor will apply a dressing and splint after the surgery and the fingers and wrist will be kept immobilized to prevent the repair from being stressed.
Recent evidence suggests that partially torn tendons can heal using the same non-surgical splinting and exercise programs used for surgery patients, thus avoiding surgery. It is important to have a doctor make a thorough examination of the wound first though, as this option is only appropriate once an accurate assessment of the extent of the injury has been made.
Tendon injuries can result in post-surgical scarring and stiffness and additional surgery is sometimes required to improve the latter. Physical hand therapy is started after surgery and it is important that the instructions given by the surgeon are followed carefully to prevent re-injury. The outcome is good for many people who have a tendon repair, but this is not true in every case. Even when people do well after a flexor tendon injury, a more complete recovery can still take many months. We are an advanced medical facility dedicated to the treatment of hand and arm conditions with locations in Port Charlotte FL and Fort Myers FL and are proud to serve patients statewide. Call us or schedule an appointment today! We serve patients from Port Charlotte FL, Fort Myers FL, Lake Suzy FL, Murdock FL, Charlotte Harbor FL, Harbour Heights FL, and Solana FL.
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