Tendons are bands of fibrous connective tissue that connect muscles to bone. They aid in the movement of the fingers, hand and other body parts.
There are two types of tendons present in the hand: extensor tendons and flexor tendons. Extensor tendons, present on top of the hand, help with straightening the fingers. Whereas, flexor tendons that lie on the palm side of the hand, help in bending the fingers. The flexor tendons are smooth, flexible, thick tissue strands that bend the fingers.
Injuries to the wrist, hand or fingers can cut and injure the tendons affecting finger movements. Tendon tears may be partial or complete. When a tendon is cut, it acts like a rubber band, where the cut ends are pulled away from each other.
Make sure to see a doctor when you sustain a finger injury that is affecting the flexion and extension of your fingers.
There are many options to repair a cut tendon. The type of repair depends on the type of cut. The aim of the procedure is to restore normal function of the joints and surrounding tissues. A ruptured tendon cannot heal without surgery because the cut ends usually pull away after an injury.
Tendon repair is usually an outpatient procedure and can be performed under local or general anesthesia. Your surgeon makes an incision on the skin over the injured tendon. The damaged ends of the tendon are brought together with sutures to achieve a secure repair. If the tendon injury is severe, a graft may be required. A graft is a piece of tendon that is derived from other parts of the body such as the foot or toe. After the repositioning of the tendon, the incisions are closed with sutures and a dressing is placed over the surgical site. Your surgeon will place your hand in a protective splint to restrict movements.
Depending on the injury, you will be advised to start hand therapy for a few weeks following surgery. This is to improve the movement of the finger. Follow your surgeon’s specific instructions for a successful recovery.
Risks and Complications
Possible complications of surgery include pain, bleeding, infection, stiffness, rupture of the repair, and damage to the surrounding nerves or blood vessels. A second surgery may be needed to release any excess scar tissue that interferes with finger movement.