Flexor tendon injuries result in the inability to bend the joint associated with that tendon. It is best for hand surgeons to repair the tendons within 7 days of injury. The most common type of flexor tendon injury results from a laceration or cut with a sharp object or tool such as a knife or saw. Flexor tendons can also rupture or tear because of a strong force or rubbing on the tendon that causes it to become thin and weak over time.
Movement of the wrist, hand, and fingers is controlled by tendons. The tendons on the palm side of the hand and fingers are called flexor tendons and they are responsible for bending the fingers and wrist. Flexor tendons begin in the elbow and forearm and touch on the bones in the hand and fingers.
If you suffer a hand laceration, a prompt, thorough history and examination should be performed by an orthopedic specialist. Our Walk-In Anytime Ortho Orthopedic Urgent Care Clinic is a convenient affordable way to get accurate diagnosis and treatment without having to go through the hassle of a hospital emergency room.
With Flexor tendon injuries, the orthopedic specialist will test the ability of the tendon to bend the finger or wrist. Lacerations that cause flexor tendon lacerations often have other structures, such as nerves, that may also be damaged. Physical exam will help to determine which structures are injured and what needs to be repaired. X-rays are usually done to evaluate for bone injury, avulsion fracture, and foreign body. Occasionally, an MRI or Ultrasound may be needed for further evaluation.
Surgical treatment for flexor tendon injuries involves repairing the laceration tendon by a fellowship trained hand specialist. It is best to repair the tendons within 7 days of injury. Any associated bone, artery or nerve injury is repaired at the same time. If the tendon is unable to be repaired, a reconstruction with a tendon graft may be an option.
Nearly all flexor tendons that are repaired surgically require splinting afterward. The splint will stay in place until the first postoperative appointment. Hand therapy is usually needed for splinting and for working on range of motion. It can take several months or longer to fully recover flexor tendon function.
**Disclaimer: Treatment recommendations may vary depending on your true diagnosis. Always follow the recommendations of your orthopedic provider.