WHAT IS FLEXOR TENDONITIS

Tendons are bundles of fibrous tissues that connect muscles to bones.  Flexor tendons are the tendons on the palm side of the hand that bend the fingers. So when the muscles in the hand contract, the flexor tendons bend the fingers to make a fist. Flexor tendonitis is an inflammation or irritation of the flexor tendon.  

FLEXOR TENDONITIS CAUSES AND RISK FACTORS

Flexor tendonitis is generally caused by repetitive motions. Sometimes a minor impact of the area or a more serious injury can cause flexor tendonitis.  A sports injury incurred by a person who plays basketball, football, tennis, baseball, golf, or skiing is at risk because he or she uses his or her hands with repetitive motions.  Weightlifting causes stretching of the tendon and overuse can cause inflammation and joint pain in the hands. Manual workers that overuse their hands are at risk as well as those with osteoarthritis.  Traumas such as falling with an outstretched hand or impact to the hand during a car accident can cause injury to the tendon which can lead to tendonitis. Even a cut on the hand can lead to infection which can also cause inflammation to the tendon.    

SYMPTOMS OF FLEXOR TENDONITIS

Symptoms of flexor tendonitis are:

  • Hand pain at rest
  • Hand pain with movement
  • Stiffness and limited mobility
  • Swelling and inflammation
  • Tenderness of the tendon

WHEN SURGERY IS NECESSARY

Dr. Madsen, an orthopedic doctor in Dallas, will first prescribe rest, ice/heat therapy and anti-inflammatories such as ibuprofen or naproxen to treat the tendonitis.  Physical therapy exercises may help to strengthen the hand and increase mobility of the tendons. It is important to avoid the activities that are causing the tendonitis during the rehabilitation.  Occasionally, the sports injury doctor will prescribe corticosteroid injections to help with recovery. When these efforts don’t not improve the symptoms of flexor tendonitis, surgery may be necessary.

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