Flexor vs Extensor Tendons
The function of the flexor tendons is to allow us to grasp objects and bring them toward the palm, sometimes powerfully. The job of the extensor tendons is to allow the fingers to clear the palm, or straighten the fingers.
There are two basic types of tendon injuries: Lacerations and ruptures. To precisely make a diagnosis, a careful history should be taken and a thorough exam must be performed. As we have a comprehensive understanding of the anatomy and treatments, we are in a unique position to help patients with these types of injuries.
Depending on what tendon is injured, when it happened, and what location in the hand or forearm the injury occurred will dictate the treatment required.
Treatment for Tendon Injuries
How we will treat the tendon injury is wholly dependent on the location of the injury and the extent of the damage to the tendon. Surgery is usually required but there are instances where splinting or casting may be the only treatment required. It is sometimes necessary to graft tendons, although not commonly.
It is best to treat tendon injuries soon after the injury if possible. If repairs are necessary, a course of splinting and rehabilitation is required to optimize your hand function.
Due to the many types of tendons and various injuries, your treatment will be discussed in more detail during the consultation.
Taking the time to heal
In our view, in terms of healing it takes three essential components to obtain a successful outcome: the first is well planned and executed repair(s), next is an excellent rehabilitation/therapy plan performed by a hand therapist, and the third and final component is a cooperative, compliant patient. This means flexibility in terms of being “one-handed” during the time when it is necessary to protect a vulnerable repair and working with the therapist regularly.
You will require splinting and frequent therapy visits. Hand elevation after surgery helps with swelling and pain. These details are important to optimize your chances of a functional finger and hand.