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What Are the Symptoms of Flexor Tendon Injuries?

man with hand painFlexor tendon injuries can occur in your hand and finger, causing pain and interfering with your normal range of motion.

In this blog, Dr. Ather Mirza and Dr. Justin Mirza, orthopedic physicians at Mirza Orthopedics, outline some common symptoms of flexor tendon injuries.

What is a flexor tendon injury?

When you bend your fingers, you’re using flexor muscles that start at the elbow and are attached by tendons to the bones in your fingers. The tendons also pass through tunnels in your fingers, which keeps them close to the bones and allows them to work better.

The long tendons that extend from your wrist to attach to the bones on your palm are located close to the surface of your skin and can suffer injury. Each of your fingers has one flexor tendon that bends the middle joint and another that bends the middle and fingertip joints. Your thumb has one flexor tendon, which bends its tip.

These tendons can be injured in a variety of different ways.

What are the common causes of a flexor tendon injury?

Several types of traumatic events can cause injury to a flexor tendon. They include the following:

  • A deep or partial cut to the palm or one or more fingers
  • A rupture of the tendon caused by a sports injury. A common type is known as “jersey finger,” which can occur when you grab another player’s jersey, and it gets caught. As a result, the flexor tendon is pulled off the bone.
  • Stretching and tearing of the tendon caused by repetitive motion of the hand, fingers, wrist, or forearm during sports or other activities
  • Stretching and tearing of the tendon caused by severe rheumatoid arthritis

What are the symptoms of a flexor tendon injury?

A flexor tendon injury can cause any of the following symptoms:

  • Painful and swollen finger joints
  • Difficulty bending your finger joints or inability to bend these joints
  • Numbness in your finger – if the nerves that are located very close to your flexor tendon are also injured
  • Tenderness and pain on the palm side of the affected finger

What types of treatment are available for flexor tendon injuries?

Treatment options depend on the severity of the injury. In less severe cases, a conservative measure may sometimes be effective. They include the following:

  • Wearing a splint to help immobilize the affected finger, giving the tendon a chance to heal
  • Completing physical therapy designed to improve the strength and range of motion of the affected finger

In more severe cases, surgery may be needed to repair flexor tendons, and nearby nerves and blood vessels may also need to be repaired if they’ve been damaged.

Your orthopedic surgeon will find the cut ends of the tendon and hold them together with stitches, allowing them to heal back together. After the surgery, you’ll need to wear a splint to help protect the tendon as part of your recovery process. You’ll also need physical therapy to help ensure that your finger’s full range of motion is restored.

If you’ve suffered a flexor tendon injury, contact Mirza Orthopedics today for an evaluation. Our orthopedic physicians specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of conditions and injuries that affect the hand, wrist, elbow, and shoulder. We’re committed to delivering the most advanced, least invasive treatments possible that will alleviate your pain and restore your range of motion.

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