Who is likely to get a flexor tendon laceration?
Flexor tendon lacerations can occur to anyone who sustains a deep cut to the hand, wrist, or arm. Diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis weakens the tendon, making it vulnerable to a sudden rupture. Additionally, athletes are at a high risk of flexor tendon injury.
How are flexor tendon lacerations diagnosed?
The physician physically examines for any cuts, swelling, bruising, and flexibility of fingers. An X-ray can be useful to identify any damage to the bone.
What are the treatments for a flexor tendon laceration?
A flexor tendon laceration can be managed by surgical and non-surgical therapy.
Partially torn tendons can be treated with nonsurgical treatments. Non-surgical management can only be done if less than 60% tendon is involved. Non-surgical treatment options include
- using a splint,
- applying ice packs on the affected area and
- anti-inflammatory and pain relievers, such as ibuprofen.
These are not definitive treatments. Physicians might order surgical therapy if the injury is restricting the blood flow to the hand or finger.
As tendons tear in different ways—such as straight across, at an angle, or pulled right off of the bone—there are various methods to repair the flexor tendon injury. These surgical methods involve special stitches or sutures.
Healing after the surgery
Tendon injuries can lead to scarring and stiffness after the surgery. It can take up to two months for the hand to heal completely after the repair. It may take another month or so before the hands can be used in full force.
Specific exercises and physical therapy will restore the function and movement of the hands.