The tendons are tough cords of tissue that connect muscles to bones. When muscles contract, the tendons pull on certain bones to help facilitate movement. They are a very important part of the body, and when they are injured, it can significantly affect your day-to-day life. That’s where we come in at the Regional Hand Center. When the tendons in your hands are injured, we can locate the problem and provide the right treatment for you.
There are two groups of tendons in the hand:
Extensor tendons run from the forearm through the back of the hand and to your fingers and thumb. They allow you to straighten your fingers and thumb.
Flexor tendons run from your forearm through your wrist and across the palm of your hand. They allow you to bend your fingers and thumb.
There are quite a few causes of hand tendon injuries, including:
- Cuts: Cuts across the back of your hand or the palm can cause a hand tendon injury.
- Sports injuries: The extensor and flexor tendons can be injured when playing sports like football and hockey or when rock climbing.
- Animal and human bites: A bite in a certain area on the hand can cause tendon damage. Additionally, punching another person in the face and hitting their teeth can also lead to this type of injury.
- Crushing injuries: Jamming your finger in a door or crushing your hand in another way can divide or rupture the tendon in the hand.
- Rheumatoid arthritis: Rheumatoid arthritis can cause tendons to become inflamed, and, in severe cases, the tendons can rupture.
There are a few different ways to treat a hand tendon injury. Surgery is the treatment most often taken. Surgery begins with either local or general anesthesia. Local is used for extensor tendon repair and general is used for flexor tendon repair.
During surgery, your surgeon will make an incision in the wrist, hand, or finger so they can locate the tendons. From there, they stitch the divided tendon together. Surgery is generally easier on the extensor tendons as they are easier to reach.
Before surgery, the torn tendons may be able to heal on their own. This is done by placing a splint on the hand to keep the tendon and joint in place. If this doesn’t show any progress, then surgery is typically necessary. And the sooner the surgery can be done after the injury, the better it is for the recovery process.
After surgery, your surgeon may refer you to physical therapy to start hand exercises, ensuring you can recover and regain hand movements as much as possible. Your physical therapist will show you various ways to move your hand to protect the tendons.
Overall recovery for a flexor tendon injury takes 3-4 months to completely heal, and you will likely have to wear a splint for 6-8 weeks. You will have some stiffness after surgery, but therapy will help loosen up your hand and wrist.
If the extensor tendon is injured, it can take 1-3 months to completely heal from surgery.
Many people want to know how to prevent hand tendon injuries. While accidents are hard to prevent, there are a few things you can take to ensure you reduce the risk of a tendon injury, including:
- Take extra care when using saws and other cutting machinery to ensure your hands are completely clear of the blade.
- Always be careful when using knives in the kitchen. Ensure your hands are as far away from the blade as possible and that you are moving the knife away from you.
- Do not stick your hand in a snow blower or lawn mower, even if the power is off.
- Do not carry multiple glass containers and walk any kind of distance, as tripping could have serious consequences.
- Warm up your tendons before using your hands for strenuous activities.
- Take breaks when needed when repeatedly using your hands for strenuous activities.
Dr. Galli and Dr. Avena can also provide you with exercises and ways to prevent hand tendon injuries.
Are you struggling with a tendon injury and don’t know where to turn? A visit to the Regional Hand Center is the perfect next step! Dr. Randi A. Galli and Dr. Ricardo Avena will listen to your concerns, examine your hand, and determine the best treatment for your needs.
To learn more and schedule a consultation today, call our Fresno or Visalia, CA offices at (559) 322-HAND or use our online contact form.Back to All Blogs