The flexor tendons are located on the palm-side of the fingers and attach the flexor muscles to the fingers bones. Extensor tendons are on the top side of fingers and help the digits to straighten, grasp objects. Flexor and tendon injuries are especially common in the hands and wrist, but they may occur with other joints.
The most common type of flexor/extensor injury is a laceration or cut. Most injuries occur as a result of direct impact during an accident or sports injury. The injury can partially sever the tendons, in which fingers can still move, or completely cut the flexor or extensor tendons. Sports that require a lot of hand strength such as rock climbing can cause tendons to tear or pull away from the bone. Other sports that expose tendons are football or rugby. Some diseases like arthritis can cause tendons to become weaker and prone to tears.
How are flexor and extensor injuries diagnosed?
First, the doctor will ask about your symptoms and any accidents or injuries you may have experienced recently. Then he will also look for outward signs of injury and ask you to perform range-of-motion exercises to help him evaluate how the joint is functioning. Finally, Dr. Ahn may also order an x-ray to evaluate potential damage to the bone.
Treatment may vary depending on the injury. Some tendon damage can be healed with proper support and protection provided by casting or splinting. Many tendon tears require surgery to reattach tendons to the bones or to mend complete tears.
If you suspect you have a tendon injury, call to make an appointment IMMEDIATELY as some injuries are time-sensitive and may not be repairable after 2-3 weeks.