The tendons connect the muscles to the bone, and play an important role in movement, particularly with regard to bending and flexing. Injuries to the tendons of the hand can cause major problems with movement. The position of the hands and fingers can similarly be impacted in a negative way. Dr. Steven Bailey at The Hand Center at Crawford Plastic Surgery, serving the greater Atlanta, GA area, can reattach, repair, or replace damaged tendons.
What Are Hand Tendon Injuries?
Hand tendon injuries refer to various kinds of trauma that affect the tendons in the hands and fingers. When the tendons are injured, this results in an inability to move the hands and fingers as one normally would, resulting in problems with grip, as well as issues when performing many normal tasks.
Symptoms of Hand Tendon Injuries
Some of the most common symptoms of hand tendon injuries include:
- Changes in the shape or position of the fingers
- Inability to bend a finger
- Pain or soreness when a finger is bent
- Bruising around a finger
- Swelling of a finger
- Blood collecting under the fingernail
Causes of Hand Tendon Injuries
There are many different causes of hand tendon injuries. In general, any kind of force, trauma, or pressure to the fingers can result in a tendon injury.
Types of Hand Tendon Injuries
There are two common types of tendon injuries that affect the hands and fingers:
- Mallet Finger (Extensor Tendons): Also known as baseball finger, these kinds of tendon injuries affect the tendons that allow people to straighten out their entire finger. When this tendon is damaged, the affected finger remains bent at the final joint.
- Jersey Finger (Flexor Tendons): These kinds of tendon injuries involve the inability to bend the fingers. It's a common tendon injury among athletes, particularly football players, gymnasts, and rock climbers.
Hand Tendon Injury Diagnosis
Proper diagnosis of tendon injuries require a full exam. In addition to discussing the incident that caused the injury, X-rays will be taken to note the exact nature and extent of the injury. For instance, the X-ray will be able to identify if only the tendon was affected or if part of the muscle or bone was also injured during the trauma.
Treatment of Hand Tendon Injuries
Tendon injuries that affect the hands can sometimes be treated without the need for surgery. Mallet finger, for instance, may only require a splint be placed on the finger to allow the tendon to heal properly. More serious injuries to the tendons of the hands will typically require surgery, however.
If surgery is required, the procedure will vary depending on the nature and location of the tendon injury. The surgery will seek to mend tears or reattach tendons that have torn completely. Following the surgery, the hand and fingers will be placed in a splint to ensure proper healing.
Recovery after Tendon Surgery
Patients may require two months for the affected tendon to heal. Strength will slowly return to the hand with time. Patients should attend all follow-up visits to reduce the chances of complications and for proper monitoring of the recovery process.
Contact The Hand Center at Crawford Plastic Surgery to learn more about hand tendon injuries and the treatment options available.