Flexor Tendon Injuries

Tendons are the bands of fibrous connective tissue that connect muscles to bone. Tendons aid in movement of the fingers, hand and all other body parts.

There are two types of tendons present in the hand- extensor tendons and flexor tendons. Extensor tendons present on top of the hand help with straightening the fingers, whereas, flexor tendons that lie on the palm side of the hand help in bending the fingers. The flexor tendons are smooth, flexible, thick tissue strands which bend the fingers.

Deep cuts on the under surface of the wrist, hand, or fingers can cut and injure the tendon and make it unable to bend one or more joints in a finger. When a tendon is cut, it acts like a rubber band, where the cut ends are pulled away from each other.

Flexor tendon tears may be partial or complete. If tendons are completely cut through, the finger joints cannot bend on their own at all.

Causes

Any cut or laceration to the arm, hand or fingers can cause a flexor tendon injury. Other possible causes include:

  • Damage to the tendon from -a sports injury, often associated with football, rugby and wrestling
  • Stretching of the tendon where the tendon is pulled off the bone
  • Jersey finger: When a player’s finger catches on another player’s jersey or clothing
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Adventurous activities such as rock climbing

Symptoms

Inform your doctor if you have any of the following symptoms:

  • Recent cut to hand or fingers
  • Pain
  • Swelling
  • Loss of ability to bend the finger
  • Numbness (loss of sensation)

Diagnosis

Make sure to see a doctor when you sustain a finger injury that is affecting the flexion and extension of your fingers.