Injuries to the tendons in the hand are common and are normally the result of a penetrating injury. They can cause severe functional loss if not treated and repaired quickly.
There are two forms of tendon in the hand made up of strong, smooth cords that connect forearm muscles to the bones in the thumb and fingers. The Flexors help the fingers contract to a grip while Extensors straighten the fingers.
A deep cut or wound or an impact injury can damage the tendons that run close to the surface and along the lines of the finger bones.
The pain from the original damage will be accompanied by a difficulty to straighten a finger or thumb or create a fist.
A hand surgeon will test the integrity of the tendons to determine what repair is needed. An x-ray may be ordered to give a complete view of the hand structure. Ultrasound or MRI scans can also be used to detect the levels of damage to a tendon.
Small cuts to the hand and tendon can be treated with splints and physiotherapy but surgery is a proven and effective tactic to repair severed and damaged tendons to restore function. The operation is performed as day surgery.
A rehabilitation programme of gentle exercise is normally advised to promote the hand to full working order, which can take up to six months.