Flexor Tendon Injuries

Flexor tendons are crucial for hand and finger movement. They connect the muscles in the forearm to the bones in the fingers and help in bending the fingers and gripping objects. Flexor tendon injuries occur when the flexor tendons in the hand and fingers that control bending motions are cut, torn, ruptured or inflamed. Symptoms include pain, swelling, inability to bend one or more joints, and tenderness along the affected tendon. Flexor tendon injuries are relatively common and can be progressive in nature. Without proper treatment, these injuries can prevent normal finger and hand motion, which impairs dexterity and can lead to long-term loss of function. Flexor tendon repair surgery is often needed to maximize the potential for restored motion. 

Flexor Tendon Treatments

Addressing flexor tendon injuries involves a multifaceted approach aimed at restoring functionality and mobility to the affected area. The primary goal of treatment is to facilitate proper healing of the tendon, enabling the individual to regain strength and dexterity in their hand or fingers.

Non-Surgical Treatments


Physical Therapy

Targeted exercises and rehabilitation techniques to improve flexibility and strength in the hand.


Pain-relieving medications or anti-inflammatory drugs might be prescribed to manage discomfort and reduce swelling.


Surgical Treatments


Tendon Repair Surgery

This outpatient surgery realigns the torn ends and sutures the tendon together. Early motion rehabilitation, when indicated, is optimal after repair.

Tendon Transfer Surgery

This procedure involves transferring a healthy tendon to replace the damaged or ruptured flexor tendon, restoring functionality and movement in the affected area.

Tendon Graft Surgery

When primary repair fails, or if there is a gap between the tendons, a tendon graft from the forearm or foot can reconstruct the damaged tendon.

Why Patients Trust the Center for Hand & Upper Extremity Surgery

In our specialized outpatient centers, our expert orthopedic and plastic surgeons focus solely on caring for hands, wrists, and arms. We're dedicated to providing you with the utmost comfort and specialized attention. With cutting-edge diagnostics and treatments available, we ensure a private and secure environment, prioritizing your safety, well-being, and seamless care. Rest assured, we're here to guide you through every step of your journey towards healing and recovery from your flexor tendon injury.

When to Seek Medical Attention

If you're experiencing persistent pain, limited movement, swelling, or any unusual sensations in your hand, wrist, or arm, it's crucial to seek professional medical attention promptly. These symptoms could indicate a potential issue with your flexor tendons or related structures. Seeking timely care ensures an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment, preventing further complications and supporting your path to recovery.

Real people. Real results.

Meet Vince,

Who was able to restore the use of his hand after a severe flexor tendon injury.

Vince suffered a flexor tendon laceration to his non-dominant small finger after an accident with broken glass, requiring emergency surgery by Dr. Shah. Despite the complex injury, Vince underwent a wide-awake surgical repair by Dr. Shah and dedicated occupational therapy, allowing him to regain excellent functionality in his hand.


What causes a flexor tendon injury?
These injuries often result from trauma or sudden excessive force, such as cuts, deep lacerations, or direct impact to the hand or fingers. They can also occur due to repetitive strain or overuse.
Are there specific risk factors for flexor tendon injuries?
Risk factors may include engaging in activities that involve repetitive hand movements or heavy lifting, certain occupations that pose a higher risk of hand injuries, and prior hand injuries that might weaken the tendons.
How is a flexor tendon injury diagnosed?
Diagnosis involves a physical examination by a healthcare professional. Imaging tests like ultrasound or MRI may be used to assess the extent and location of the injury, guiding the treatment plan.
What can I expect in the long term after treatment for a flexor tendon injury?
While outcomes vary, with appropriate treatment and diligent rehabilitation, many patients regain functional use of their hand. However, the recovery process can be lengthy, and some individuals might experience reduced range of motion or strength in the affected fingers.
Can a flexor tendon injury heal without surgery?

In some cases, minor injuries or partial tears might respond to non-surgical treatments like splinting and physical therapy. However, complete tears often require surgical intervention for optimal recovery and function.

How long does recovery take after surgery for a flexor tendon injury?
Recovery timelines vary based on the severity of the injury and the individual's response to treatment. It can take several months to regain full functionality, and consistent participation in rehabilitation is crucial for optimal recovery.
What happens if a flexor tendon injury is left untreated?
Untreated injuries might lead to complications like permanent stiffness, limited range of motion, or adhesions between the tendon and surrounding tissues, which can impede hand function and mobility. Seeking timely treatment is essential to minimize these risks.
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