Any deep cut in the hand, wrist, or forearm can cause severe damage to the tissues that are linked to controlling the movement in your hand, or flexor tendons. Injury of the flexor tendons can affect your ability to bend the fingers or thumbs, which severely limits your activities and may even cause pain.
What Are Flexor Tendon Injuries?
The flexor tendons are the set of tissues that connect the muscle tissue to the bone. When you contract the muscles in the hand, the tendons pull the bone to help them move. Tendons located on the top of the hand help to keep the hand straight and tendons on the palm side help to bend the fingers. When the tendon is torn or cut in some way, it can no longer assist to bend the joints in the fingers. In some cases, a deep cut to the tendon can also damage nearby nerves, which will cause numbness on one or both sides of a finger.
If you end up cutting a blood vessel, the finger will no longer have enough blood supply and this will require surgery immediately. In the event of a partial cut or torn tendon, you may only be able to bend your finger partially and this can be painful.
Flexor tendon injuries typically occur from sports injuries but may also be a side effect of health conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis, that weaken the flexor tendons over time.
Treatment fo Flexor Tendon Injuries
During a physical exam, Dr. Kilaru may perform a series of tests where you need to bend and straighten different fingers. If the injuries fingers do not bend or straighten properly, he will need to determine whether any nerves or blood vessels have been injured. An x-ray may be needed to determine if there is any damage to the bone.
Treatment for Flexor Tendon Injuries
Tendons cannot heal on their own unless the ends of each tendon are touching. If the tendon has been cut or torn, it will require surgery within at least 10 days of the injury. If a tendon has restricted blood flow, Dr. Kilaru will need to perform surgery immediately.
All tendon surgeries require using special sutures to repair the tendon. The hand will be dressed with a splint and bandage after surgery to keep the fingers and wrist in a certain position until the injury has healed. Recovery typically takes up to 2 months and then another month before your hand can be used with any force or to lift heavy objects. Physical therapy can help to restore range of motion.
If you think you have a flexor tendon injury, you will need to see a doctor for an evaluation. Schedule your consultation with Dr. Kilaru to learn more about hand surgery and treatment options.