Synergy Health Partners

Flexor Tendon Injuries

Definition: Flexor tendon injuries involve damage to the tendons in the fingers and thumb that enable bending movements. These tendons are crucial for grasping and holding objects. Injuries can result from cuts, sports activities, or trauma to the hand.


  • Lacerations: Deep cuts from knives, glass, or other sharp objects.
  • Sports Injuries: Activities that involve gripping, such as rock climbing or football.
  • Trauma: Crush injuries or fractures that damage the tendons.
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis: Chronic inflammation can weaken tendons, making them more susceptible to injury.


  • Inability to bend one or more joints of the finger
  • Pain and tenderness along the palm or finger
  • Swelling in the affected area
  • Numbness or tingling if nerves are involved
  • Open wound if the injury is due to a laceration
  • A popping or snapping sensation at the time of injury


  • Physical Examination: Assessing finger movement, strength, and pain.
  • Clinical Tests: Checking the integrity of the tendons by asking the patient to bend and straighten the fingers.
  • Imaging Tests: Ultrasound or MRI may be used to evaluate the extent of the injury.


  1. Non-Surgical Treatments:

    • Splinting: Immobilizing the finger to allow the tendon to heal, used in partial tears.
    • Medications: Pain relievers and anti-inflammatory drugs to manage pain and reduce swelling.
  2. Surgical Treatments:

    • Primary Repair: Sewing the ends of the tendon back together, typically performed soon after the injury.
    • Tendon Grafts: Using a tendon from another part of the body to repair severe injuries.
    • Tendon Transfers: Re-routing nearby tendons to restore function in cases where the original tendon cannot be repaired.


  • Physical Therapy: Exercises to restore movement, strength, and flexibility in the fingers and hand.
  • Hand Therapy: Specialized therapy to ensure proper healing and to maximize the return of function.
  • Splinting: Often continued post-surgery to protect the repaired tendon and prevent re-injury.

Prognosis: Recovery from flexor tendon injuries can be lengthy and requires diligent adherence to rehabilitation protocols. Early surgical intervention and proper rehabilitation are crucial for restoring function. Even with successful treatment, some patients may experience residual stiffness or reduced strength. Regular follow-up with healthcare providers ensures optimal recovery and helps address any complications promptly.