Flexor Tendon Injuries
What is Flexor Tendon Injuries?
The flexor tendons are the long tendons that run from the mid-forearm to the fingertip; each finger has two flexor tendons, and the thumb has one. The muscles that connect to these tendons originate in the forearm even though their action is in the hand. Their actions are complex, and injuries to them are devastating.
Symptoms & Causes
The most common flexor tendon injury mechanism is a laceration from a sharp object like a knife, saw, or glass. You can also rupture a tendon when grabbing something or trying to tackle an opponent, hence the common name for an avulsion injury: “jersey finger.” Frequently, an avulsion injury is thought to be a “sprain” as the finger hurts and swells but can still partially flex.
Researchers have published thousands of papers about operative repair of flexor tendons, and surgeons have trialed numerous methods and implants. Today, the preferred method for repairing lacerations is multiple sutures crossing the gap (the area where the tendon is lacerated). Unfortunately, the treatment of choice for avulsions is less clear; if possible, surgeons fix the tendon to the bone with added sutures. Physical therapy with a Certified Hand Therapist (CHT) is mandatory for anyone recovering from a flexor tendon injury. Often, patients will be sent to see the hand therapist before surgery.
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