Tendons are bands of fibrous tissue that connect muscles to bones. The flexor and extensor tendons are tendons that help your joints bend (flexor tendons) and straighten out (extensor tendons). Flexor and extensor tendon injuries are especially common in the hands and wrist, but they can occur with other joints as well.
Flexor tendon injuries most commonly occur as a result of deep cuts that sever the tendons or from sports-related injuries. Sports that require a lot of hand strength such as rock climbing can cause tendons to tear or pull away from the bone. Other sports that expose tendons and bones to significant impacts such as football or rugby are also common causes. Some disease like arthritis can cause tendons to become weaker and more prone to tears. Most extensor tendon injuries occur as a result of direct impact during an accident or sports-related injury. Arthritis and over-extension can also cause these tendons to become damaged.
First, the doctor will ask about your symptoms and any accidents or injuries you may have experienced recently. He'll also look for outward signs of injury such as cuts, bruising or swelling and ask you to perform range-of-motion exercises to help him evaluate how the joint is functioning. Finally, Dr. Ahn may also order an x-ray to evaluate potential damage to the bone.
Treatment depends on the extent of the injury. Some tendon damage can be healed with proper support and protection provided by casting or splinting. Many tendon tears require surgery to reattach tendons to the bones or to mend complete tears.
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