What Are Flexor Tendon Lacerations?

The long flexor tendons attach muscles in the forearm to the finger bones. These structures are responsible for flexing the fingers (pulling them toward the palm). The flexor tendons are responsible for common, everyday movements like gripping objects and making a fist. A cut or injury to the palm side of the forearm or hand can partially or completely lacerate one or more of the flexor tendons. When this happens, any, all, or any combination of the following symptoms may present:
  • Inability to move the wrist, hand and/or fingers
  • Pain
  • Weakness
  • Tenderness

How are Flexor Tendon Injuries Diagnosed?

Any injury or cut to the hand/wrist that results in the inability to move the finger should be evaluated.  Most times a thorough history and physical examination can diagnose these injuries.  X-rays are often used to evaluate bone injuries or foreign bodies in the cut.  MRI or ultrasound studies can be used to confirm diagnoses or in the case of partial injuries

How Are Flexor Tendon Lacerations Treated?

Partial flexor tendon lacerations. When hand and finger function remains intact, partial flexor tendon lacerations may be treated with immobilization—a splint holds the hand, wrist, and forearm in place so the tendons can heal. Complete flexor tendon lacerations. Surgical intervention is often necessary. A flexor tendon repair is a procedure that uses special sutures and suturing techniques to re-attach the ends of the torn tendons. The procedure is usually done on an outpatient basis. Surgical and recovery time depends on the severity of the injury.