Hand and Wrist

Our Specialties

Extensor Tendon Lacerations

Anatomy

Tendons are tissues that connect muscles to bone. As muscles contract, the tendons pull on bones and cause parts of the body to move. The flexor tendons on the palm side of the hand are used to bend the fingers. The extensor tendons are on top of the hand, and they are used to straighten the fingers.

Description

Extensor tendon lacerations (wounds, cuts or tears) of the hand and fingers are quite common injuries, and can occur at many different levels. They are often associated with deep structure damage, such as bone, joint and ligamentous support. There are two categories of extensor tendon injury: acute simple laceration, and complex extensor tendon laceration with associated features.

Symptoms

Symptoms of an extensor tendon laceration include one or more of the following: loss of function or strength, diminished range of motion, and weakness when straightening the fingers or hand.

Causes

Many injuries can produce an extensor tendon laceration. Some of the most common include: sharp object direct laceration, crush injury, avulsions, burns, animal or human bites, and deep abrasions. Tendons can also rupture due to jamming injuries or sudden loading.

Nonsurgical Treatment

When evaluated early, certain cases of extensor tendon laceration without a wound may be treated with prolonged splinting.

Surgery

If surgical treatment is required, it may include wound debridement, early tendon repair, and protected/guided therapy.

With any surgery there are some risks, and these vary from person to person. Complications are typically minor, treatable and unlikely to affect your final outcome. Your orthopaedic surgeon will speak to you prior to surgery to explain any potential risks and complications that may be associated with your procedure.

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