Orthopedics: Conditions

Flexor & Extensor Tendon Injuries

Extensor Tendon Injury

Extensor tendons, located on the back of the hand and fingers, allow you to straighten your fingers and thumb. Extensor tendons are just under the skin, directly on the bone, on the back of the hands and fingers. Because of their location, even a minor cut can easily injure them. Jamming a finger may cause these thin tendons to rip apart from their attachment to the bone.

Common types of extensor tendon injuries include

Extensor tendon injuries may result in scar tissue that causes the tendon to adhere to nearby bone, limiting the movement of the tendon. The scar tissue that forms may prevent full finger bending and straightening. Treatment for extensor tendon injuries varies from conservative treatment to tendon repair surgery. Our hand doctors at Emory will discuss the best treatment option for your injury.

Flexor Tendon Injury

The muscles that allow you to bend your fingers to make a fist are your flexor tendons. Deep cuts on the palm side of the wrist, hand, or fingers can injure the flexor tendons and nearby nerves and blood vessels. The injury may appear simple on the outside, but is actually much more complex on the inside. When a tendon is cut, it acts like a rubber band, and its cut ends pull away from each other. A tendon that has not been cut completely through may still allow the fingers to bend, but can cause pain or catching, and may eventually tear all the way through. When tendons are cut completely through, the finger joints cannot bend on their own. Because the cut ends of a tendon usually separate after an injury, a cut tendon cannot heal without surgery.

There are many ways to repair a cut tendon, and certain types of cuts need a specific type of surgical tendon repair. Our hand surgeons at Emory will discuss the best treatment option for your specific flexor tendon injury.

If you have questions, or to make an appointment, call: 404-778-3350.