If your experiencing finger tendon pain, our Dallas Extensor Tendon Injury Treatment could help. Dr. Pedro Loredo is a hand specialist serving the Dallas and Fort Worth, TX area. Call today to learn about treatment options for your damaged extensor tendon.
Dr. Pedro Loredo repairing traumatically injured extensor tendons of the hand.
What are Extensor Tendon Injuries?
The extensor tendons are cords of tissue which lie just under the skin in the dorsal (back) side of the hand and connect the muscles of the forearm to the bones in the fingers and thumb. When muscles in the forearm contract, the extensor tendons pull on the finger bones and cause them to straighten.
There are three common types of Extensor Tendon Injury:
This condition is caused by injury (such as a cut or tear) to the finger extensor tendon, resulting in involuntary flexing of the middle joint and hindering the ability to completely straighten or extend the finger. The most common cause of Boutonniére Deformity is a forceful blow to the finger when it is flexed or bent. This type of injury requires immediate medical attention to avoid permanent damage.
This condition, also known as “Baseball Finger”, is caused by injury (such as a cut or tear) to the finger extensor tendon, resulting in involuntary flexing of the end joint at the tip of the finger and hindering the ability to completely straighten or extend the finger. The most common cause of Mallet Finger is a ball or other object striking the tip of the finger or thumb (hence the name Baseball Finger).
Sagittal Band Injury (Boxer’s Knuckle)
This condition refers to a dislocation of the extensor tendon at the knuckle. This type of injury most commonly results from forceful blows to the knuckles (sustained from sports like boxing or martial arts); however, the condition can also be caused by a laceration, pre-existing condition which causes inflammation of the joints such as Rheumatoid Arthritis, and/or routine activity. It most commonly affects the middle and little fingers.
Symptoms of Extensor Tendon Injuries
Symptoms of Extensor Tendon Injuries include the following:
- Inability to straighten the affected finger
- Popping of the tendon out of place when bending the finger (Sagittal Band Injury only)
Dr. Loredo’s Approach to Treating Extensor Tendon Injuries
Non-Surgical Treatment Options
Depending on the severity of the condition, Dr. Loredo may attempt to treat non-surgically before recommending surgery. Non-surgical treatments include:
- The use of a splint or brace to support the affected finger or knuckle
- Anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs) to relieve inflammation and pain
- Steroid injections to reduce swelling and pain
- Resting and icing the affected area(s)
- Physical therapy
Surgical Treatment Options
In the event that non-surgical treatment is ineffective, Dr. Loredo will opt for minimally-invasive surgery to repair the damaged tendon. For Mallet Finger repair, Dr. Loredo may opt to place an extension block k-wire (see below) to repair the damaged finger joint. This would remain in place for approximately 4 weeks.
What Can I Expect After Surgery?
A protective splint or brace will typically be placed to support the affected finger or knuckle after surgery. Ongoing physical therapy may be recommended.
Frequently Asked Questions
What causes an Extensor Tendon Injury?
Certain sports activities, such as baseball or boxing, are the most common ways to injure an extensor tendon. However, injuries can also be sustained from lacerations on the back of the hand.
What is the recovery time like for an Extensor Tendon Injury?
This completely depends on the severity of the injury. If the tendon is severed, then it will require surgical repair and healing time can take up to 10 to 12 weeks. If the tendon is only partially torn, surgery is generally not required. The healing process can usually be managed through splinting and regular physical therapy. However, this should only be presented as an option if the extent of the injury has been fully assessed by a medical professional.
What can happen if I don’t seek immediate treatment for an Extensor Tendon Injury?
If the injury is left alone and not properly repaired, the damaged tendon can attach itself to nearby bone and/or scar tissue and lead to an inability to fully bend or straighten the finger. This is dependent upon the severity of the injury but can be a permanent result of non-treatment.
Contact the Loredo Hand Care Institute
If you are experiencing any of the symptoms associated with Extensor Tendon Injuries or would like to learn more about our practice in the Dallas area, please contact us today to schedule an appointment or get your free insurance check.