What is a Flexor Tendon Injury?

16 August 2017

Despite their relatively small size, your hands are made up of one of the most complex systems in the human body. Yet your hands are extremely prone to injury or harm. As flexor tendons are close to the surface of the skin, a simple cut to your hand can damage the way your fingers move. If you've noticed that you can no longer bend one of your fingers without experiencing a great deal of pain, you might be suffering from a flexor tendon injury. At Wrist Supports, we've put together a guide so you can better understand the condition.

What Is a Flexor Tendon Injury?

Tendons are like puppet strings in the human body; when your muscles contract, tendons pull on your bones and cause parts of your body to move. The tendons used to move your fingers and thumbs are located from the forearm muscles to the bones in your fingers and thumbs. Torn flexor tendons can be caused by a deep cut on the palm side of your fingers, hand, wrist or forearm. Just as if you were to cut a puppet's string, this makes it impossible for you to bend the affected finger.

Do I Have a Tendon Injury?

If you suffer from any of the following symptoms, you might have a flexor tendon injury. If so, it's important that you visit a doctor so the condition can be treated.

  • Inability to bend your finger without great pain
  • Cut across the back or palm of your hand
  • Tenderness along your finger on the palm side
  • Numbness in your fingertip

Causes of a Flexor Tendon Injury

Flexor tendon injuries aren't just caused by deep cuts on your hand; they can also be the result of playing sports and having certain health conditions. The injury often occurs when you perform more "hands-on" sports like football, wrestling and rugby. A common flexor tendon injury is called "jersey finger" and occurs when one player grabs another player's jersey and their fingers gets caught and pulled. This causes the tendon to come away from the bone.

Conditions like rheumatoid arthritis weaken the flexor tendons and make them become inflamed so you're more likely to suffer from a flexor tendon injury. This can happen without cause or trauma; in some cases, your tendons simply rupture and it only becomes evident that something's wrong when you can no longer bend one of the fingers.

How Do You Treat a Tendon Injury?

How the injury is treated will depend on how badly the tendon has been torn. If it's been completely torn, a surgeon will need to repair the tendon in surgery. The area should then be protected with a splint so the tendon can heal correctly. If this is the case, however, it will usually be over two months before you can go back to your regular routine.

When your tendon has only been partially torn, you'll usually be treated non-surgically. Again, a splint will have to be used and a physical therapist will create an exercise programme for you to gradually restore strength and movement in the area. Flexor tendon injuries are challenging to treat and you may experience long-term stiffness even after the injury has healed.

Flexor Tendon Injuries at Wrist Supports

Whichever treatment you get for the injury, you'll need to wear a wrist splint to protect your tendons so they can heal properly. At Wrist Supports, we've curated a range of supports and braces to help you remain supported. Performing hand exercises and using rehabilitation aids as you recover also helps prevent repaired tendons from sticking to nearby tissue, though these should only be used under the guidance of your physiotherapist. Click the yellow button below to view our full range of wrist supports for flexor tendon injuries.


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