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Flexor Tendonitis

Whether from sports or basic physical activity, your flexor tendon can easily be damaged. The flexor tendon, made up of tissues in the palm side of your hand, can make it difficult to bend your thumb or fingers. Flexor tendonitis can be painful and sometimes stop hand movement altogether.

Anatomy

The tendons in your hand connect the muscles to the bone. When these contract, this causes the normal movement of the fingers. The muscles that cause the finger and thumb to move are in the forearm, where long tendons stretch down.

The tendons at the top of the hand, extensor tendons, straighten the fingers. The flexor tendons, located on the palm side of your hand, bend the fingers.

When you are straightening or bending your fingers, your tendons are moving through small tunnels known as tendon sheaths. These tendons sheaths allow for the tendons to remain in place next to the bone.

Description

Flexor tendonitis can occur when there is a strain on the tendons. This strain can cause unwanted pain and stress.

Any damage to the tendon in the forearm, wrist, palm or along the finger will stop all movement in the finger. If a tendon becomes torn, any tension on it will create a rubber band effect and cause it to weaken. This makes the healing process slow.

If a deep cut occurs, damage to nerves or blood vessels may occur. This is very serious and requires immediate surgery to remedy.

Symptoms

There are a few common signs of flexor tendonitis:

  • Inability to bend one or more finger joints
  • Numbness in the fingertip
  • Pain when a finger is bent
  • Tenderness along the finger on the palm side of the hand
Flexor Tendonitis

Diagnosis

Your Florida Orthopaedic Institute physician will evaluate your symptoms and discuss possible treatment options. It is always important to see a professional when there is an injury involving the fingers or hand.

Your physician will examine the range of motion in your hand by flexing your fingertips into a bending and straightening motion. To test strength, your physician may press on your non-injured fingers while you attempt to move the injured one.

Since flexor tendonitis causes strain, your physician may ask about your usual exercise or daily activities where the most tension is felt so that steps can be taken to alleviate the issue.

Treatment

After an examination, your physician will make a recommendation about treatment. Florida Orthopaedic Institute believes that all non-surgical methods should be explored before surgery.

Tendons cannot heal unless the ends are touching, so surgery would be recommended if a full tear has occurred.

If the flexor tendonitis is not as severe, physical therapy and options to reduce tension on the tendons will be explored.

Non-Surgical Treatments

Surgery is not essential to the healing of the tendon. Your physician may recommend splints or exercise programs to assist in the process.

Flexor tendonitis can be remedied through physical therapy as well. Proper exercise, as prescribed by your physician, can speed up the recovery process.

Surgical Procedures/Treatments

In some extreme cases, flexor tendonitis needs surgery to be corrected. Since tendons can tear in a variety of ways, there can be different surgical procedures involved.

The surgical procedures used are not complicated, with most patients allowed to go home the day of surgery. The surgeon will apply a dressing and splint after the surgery with your fingers and wrist placed in a bent position. This allows for the tension to be removed from the site.

Next Steps

Florida Orthopaedic Institute’s physicians are consistently kept up-to-date on the latest flexor tendonitis injuries and research. Should pain occur, contact Florida Orthopaedic Institute to schedule an appointment for evaluation.

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