Finger Flexor Tendon Injury

Tendons connect muscles to bone. The fingers have tendons that run all the way up to the finger tips. The tendons on the palm side let you curl your fingers. A flexor tendon injury is damage to these tendons. When the tendons are damaged, you can lose your ability to bend your finger(s).

  • Causes

    Flexor tendon injures most commonly occur as a cut or laceration to the hand. Other causes include:


    • Damage to the tendon from:

      • A cut to fingers—palm side

      • A sports injury:

        • Stretching of tendon
        • Jersey finger—when finger catches on another player’s jersey or clothing
      • Rheumatoid arthritis

  • Definition

    Tendons connect muscles to bone. The fingers have tendons that run all the way up to the finger tips. The tendons on the palm side let you curl your fingers. A flexor tendon injury is damage to these tendons. When the tendons are damaged, you can lose your ability to bend your finger(s).

    Healthy Flexor Tendons of the Hand
    flexor tendon
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  • Diagnosis

    Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done. During the exam, you will be asked to bend and straighten your fingers. Your doctor will also check your fingers for sensation, blood flow, and strength. You may be referred to a hand surgeon or an orthopedist—a doctor who specializes in bones.

  • Prevention

    Flexor tendon injuries are typically caused by accidental injuries. There are no known prevention guidelines for this injury.

  • Risk Factors

    Factors that may increase your chance of a flexor tendon injury include:


    • Participating in certain sports, such as:

      • Rugby
      • Football
      • Wrestling
    • Rheumatoid arthritis

  • Symptoms

    Symptoms may include:

    • Pain
    • Swelling
    • Tenderness
    • Inability to bend finger
    • Cut to hand or fingers
    • Loss of sensation

  • Treatment

    Talk with your doctor about the best plan for you. Most patients with this type of injury require surgery. Surgery may be scheduled right away or within several days. Treatment options include the following: