Flexor Tendon Lacerations
Within each finger, an intricate and delicate system is found that allows for specific movement and finger flexion. Part of this system are the muscles in the forearm, which attach to the finger via cord-like tendons called flexor tendons that extend down into the fingers. As forearm muscles contract, the flexor tendons move, producing wrist and finger motion. These flexor tendons enable each finger to move independently or together as a group with other fingers.
Because of their importance to hand and wrist motion, injuries to the flexor tendons can be extremely disabling. The most common injury to these tendons is a deep cut (laceration) in the hand or finger which severs the tendon and immobilizes movement in the finger. Without use of the flexor tendon, the finger cannot be bent.
The only treatment for flexor tendon lacerations is surgery to repair the tendon.
Following surgery, very intensive and specific therapy is required to maintain the integrity of the repaired tendon and prevent it from rupturing again. A customized static (fixed) or dynamic (enabling controlled movement) splint is made to protect the hand. A hand therapist, in conjunction with your physician, will then instruct you on specific exercises and treatments you must do while your arm is splinted to prepare it for the next level of therapy.
After 6 weeks, your physician will use his or her discretion to determine when to allow more aggressive rehabilitation to regain range of motion and strength.
The key to a successful, complete recovery for flexor tendon lacerations is
- Prompt medical attention to address the injury
- Strict compliance with your physician’s and therapist’s instructions through the protective, range of motion, and strengthening stages.
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