Advanced Physical Therapy

Tendon Repair

In Flexor or Extensor Tendon Injuries, the tear (rupture) or cut (laceration) of the tendon ends are pulled apart, and they cannot heal without the ends touching. This necessitates surgical repair where the tendon ends are sewn back together. Most often the tendons are damaged by cuts, but athletic injuries occur usually in football or wrestling. If one player grabs another’s jersey, the finger gets pulled, rupturing the flexor tendon; thus, the name “jersey finger.” If a player gets hit by a baseball on the end of the finger, it can spontaneously rupture the extensor tendon on the tip of the finger; this is called “mallet finger.” This can also happen from a person scrubbing a carpeted floor. The symptom of tendon injury is the finger no longer bends or straightens.

After surgical repair, it is critical that you follow your surgeon’s orders postoperatively. You will be referred to physical or occupational therapy to follow a Tendon Repair Protocol. You should make sure the therapist you go to has worked with this type of repair and knows the protocol. It is imperative not to overstretch the repair because it could re-rupture.

Physical Therapy Treatment Plan: After careful evaluation by the physical or occupational therapist, the first step in treating this condition is to fabricate a splint for you to wear for 6-8 weeks. Treatments may include edema control, scar massage, and specific passive exercises per the protocol ordered by the hand surgeon.

After your initial prescription for therapy is completed, your physician and therapist will decide if you need to continue therapy or if you will be discharged to a home exercise program.

This information is provided as a learning resource for the benefit of our patients. It is NOT INTENDED to replace personal consultation with your medical professionals.

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