What is a Flexor Tendon Injury?

What is a Flexor Tendon Injury?

An injury to a flexor tendon is basically an injury to your muscle. The flexor muscles are the muscles that allow you to bend your fingers. These muscles are able to move your fingers through tendons, which are cord-like extensions that connect your muscle to your bone. The flexor muscles start at the elbow and forearm and turn into tendons just past the middle of the forearm. They then attach to the bones of the fingers.

These tendons can be injured, for example, by a deep cut. If you severely cut yourself, the cut could also damage surrounding structures such as nerves and vessels. Many times, an injury that looks simple on the outside, like a cut, can be very complicated on the inside. A severe cut that injures the tendons will mean that you won’t be able to bend your finger, as the flexor muscles allow this movement.

There are 5 different flexor muscles in the wrist and forearm, including:

  • Flexor pollicis longus (allows us to bend the tips of our thumbs)
  • Flexor digitorum profundus (allows us to bend the fingers)
  • Flexor digitorum superficialis (allows us to bend the middle joint of each finger to do things such as use chopsticks)
  • Flexor carpi ulnaris (allows us to bend the wrist to do things such as dart throwing)
  • Flexor carpi radialis (allows us to move the wrist toward the thumb)

A cut tendon cannot heal without surgery. After surgery, it will take a good amount of time for your injury to heal. You likely won’t be able to bend your finger for a month, as your fingers will be in a splint. You will work with a hand therapist to regain function of your fingers. As with all surgery, there is a chance that you will not regain full motion afterward.

Talk to your hand surgeon about the best treatment option for you. Learn more at www.HandCare.org.

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