Flexor Tendon Injuries

Flexor Tendon Injury Overview

The flexor tendons are located in the forearm, hand, and fingers. The tendons are important because they control hand movement, specifically finger and thumb bending. Flexor tendon injuries may make it impossible to properly use the hand. Patients who experience flexor tendon injury symptoms should make an appointment with a Carolina Orthopaedic and Neurosurgical Associates’ (CONA) hand specialist as soon as possible.

Symptoms & Causes

Flexor tendon injury symptoms include:

  • Finger-tip numbness
  • Inability to move one or more fingers
  • Pain
  • Tenderness

Forearm, hand and finger lacerations are common flexor tendon injury causes. Forceful gripping of an object and subsequent tearing of the flexor tendon from the bone is also common. Sports and activities where this might occur are football, wrestling, rugby and rock climbing.

Common Treatments:

Nonsurgical treatment options treat some flexor tendon injuries. The injured tendons heal when the arm is immobilized in a cast or splint. Hand therapy restores flexor tendon strength, flexibility and function after immobilization.

Surgery may be recommended for complete tendon tears. A CONA specialist uses sutures to repair the torn tendon(s). The arm is placed in a specially made splint for immobilization and protection purposes. Hand therapy, which is essential for a complete recovery, begins after the tendons heal.

Diagnosis:

A CONA specialist obtains an injury report and medical history, including current symptoms. A physical examination is an important part of the diagnostic process. A CONA specialist:

  • Asks the patient to move each of their fingers
  • Checks hand and finger strength
  • Checks blood flow and nerve function

The injury is diagnosed and an appropriate treatment plan is prescribed.

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