Finger Flexor Tendon Injury

(Jersey Finger)

Definition

Tendons connect muscles to bone. The fingers have tendons that run all the way up to the finger tips. The tendons on the palm side let you curl your fingers. A flexor tendon injury is damage to these tendons. When the tendons are damaged, you can lose your ability to bend your finger(s).
Healthy Flexor Tendons of the Hand
flexor tendon
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Causes

Flexor tendon injures most commonly occur as a cut or laceration to the hand. Other causes include:
  • Damage to the tendon from:
    • A cut to fingers—palm side
    • A sports injury:
      • Stretching of tendon
      • Jersey finger—when finger catches on another player’s jersey or clothing
    • Rheumatoid arthritis

Risk Factors

Factors that may increase your chance of a flexor tendon injury include:
  • Participating in certain sports, such as:
    • Rugby
    • Football
    • Wrestling
  • Rheumatoid arthritis

Symptoms

Symptoms may include:
  • Pain
  • Swelling
  • Tenderness
  • Inability to bend finger
  • Cut to hand or fingers
  • Loss of sensation

Diagnosis

You will be asked about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done. During the exam, you will be asked to bend and straighten your fingers. Your doctor will also check your fingers for sensation, blood flow, and strength. You may be referred to a hand surgeon or an orthopedist—a doctor who specializes in bones.

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