Flexor Tendon Injuries

Flexor tendon injuries affect a person’s ability to bend their fingers or thumb. In terms of background, the muscles that allow the fingers and thumbs to move originate in the forearm. Long tendons connect the forearm muscles to the metacarpal bones that represent the fingers and thumbs. The flexor tendons pass through a small sheath at the wrist, allowing the fingers and thumbs to bend and straighten. 

What are the Causes of Flexor Tendon Injuries?

The flexor tendons run adjacent to the surface of the skin. As a result, any cut or laceration has the potential to sever a flex tendon. If this happens, the connection breaks between the forearm muscle and the fingers. And it can become difficult to bend or straighten the fingers or thumbs. 

In addition to cuts and lacerations, certain sports and activities pose a risk of sustaining a flexor tendon injury. For example, individuals who play certain contact sports — such as football, rugby, or wrestling — are susceptible to developing a type of flexor tendon injury referred to as “jersey finger.”

Flexor tendon injuries are also common in other sports that involve substantial exertion of the arms or hands. An example of this is rock climbing, where the tendons can stretch beyond normal capacity and tear. 

In yet other cases, flexor tendon injuries occur in connection with underlying health issues, such as rheumatoid arthritis. Individuals with this medical condition can diminish the strength of tendons, making them more likely to stretch and tear. 

Are there Common Symptoms of Flexor Tendon Injuries?

A person with a flexor tendon injury is likely to display any or all of the following symptoms:

  • Cuts or lacerations on the palm of the hand;
  • Difficulty bending or straightening fingers or thumbs;
  • Pain or discomfort in the palm of the hand; or
  • Tingling or numb sensation, particularly in the fingertips.

What are the Treatment Options for Flexor Tendon Injuries?

After completing an initial diagnostic exam to confirm the presence of a flexor tendon injury, a medical provider can progress to treatment options. In this context, it is important to note that tendons must be connected at both ends to heal. As flexor tendon injuries typically involve torn tendons, this means that surgery is often required. 

As there are many different ways a flexor tendon can tear, there are also varying methods to surgically repair such an injury. Usually, a medical provider will apply sutures to affix the tendon to muscle and bone. This type of surgery is normally conducted as an outpatient procedure, enabling the patient to go home the same day. 

Are You Suffering from a Flexor Tendon Injury?

If you have medical questions about flexor tendon injuries, it can be exceedingly helpful to contact an adept orthopaedic physician. At the Orthopaedic Associates of Riverside, we feature board-certified physicians with extensive experience treating various orthopaedic issues, including flexor tendon injuries. If you are suffering from a flexor tendon injury or a different orthopaedic issue, conatct us to jumpstart your treatment!

Contact us today!