Tendons are an integral part of the function of the hand. They connect the muscles to the bones and allow you to flex and extend the fingers and wrist. When the hand muscles contract, tendons pull on the bones, allowing the fingers and other parts of the body to move. Long tendons extend from the muscles, through the wrist and are attached to the small bones of the fingers and thumbs. Tendon injuries can occur as a result of a blunt or sharp mechanism.
If a laceration to a hand is deep enough, it can cause a tendon injury. If a tendon is cut, then one is unable to flex, extend or bend the fingers or the wrist. You can also sustain a tendon injury without a laceration. A blunt injury to a fingertip can result in a tendon pulling off the bone. This presents as an inability to flex or extend the finger. Common terms for these injuries are "Jersey Finger" or "Mallet Finger".
Signs and symptoms of a tendon injury include pain when bending the finger, tenderness on the affected area, numbness on the fingertip, and the inability to bend one or more finger joints. The most common sign of a tendon injury is an open injury combined with an inability to bend or straighten one or more joints.
Tendons usually don't heal unless the cut ends have been repaired. Dr McGuire will examine the hand and determine the correct treatment plan depending on the severity of the condition. In the case of a Mallet Finger, these injuries may be amenable to conservative treatment with splinting. Others may require surgical repair. A laceration requires urgent surgical repair of the tendon, followed by rehabilitation. During this period of rehabilitation, the hand will need to be splinted. The rehabilitation will need to be supervised by a hand therapist.