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What is a tendon injury in the hand?

A tendon injury in the hand is damage to one of the tendons in the hand. Physiotherapy can effectively treat a tendon injury in the hand.

What can cause a tendon injury in the hand?

Most tendon injuries of the hand are caused by a cut that will either tear or completely severe the tendon. Rarely, a bad fall can cause the bone connecting with the tendon to pull the tendon and damage it in this way. This often happens in sporting injuries such as football and rugby.

Therapist soft tissue massage of the metacarpals and connective tissues in the handAbove: Therapist soft tissue massage of the metacarpals and connective tissues in the hand

What are the symptoms of a tendon injury in the hand?

Severe pain and tenderness is often experienced where the damage has occurred. You may also notice swelling around the site of the injury and will find it difficult to move the fingers and wrist without pain or discomfort. There may be bruising over the area if any blood vessels have been damaged at the same time. Other symptoms may include:

What should I do if I have a tendon injury in the hand?

You should visit your local accident and emergency department as soon as you suspect you may have a tendon injury in the hand. Here, you will be examined by a doctor or hand specialist who will be able to give you medication to help with the pain and give you an accurate diagnosis of what has happened. You may need to have a hand X-ray to check if you have any broken bones. You should apply ice to the area with either frozen peas wrapped in a moist towel or an ice pack. This will help to reduce pain and swelling. You can also add compression to the area using a bandage as this will also reduce the swelling. The results of the X-ray will determine the appropriate treatment for you hand tendon injury. This could include a splint or cast to rest your hand. If the tendon injury is more severe, you may need surgery repair the damaged tendon.

What shouldn’t I do if I have a tendon injury in the hand?

If you think you may have injured one of the tendons in your hand, you should not keep moving the area as this may make the damage worse. You should try and prevent an increase of blood flow to the area as this will cause more swelling at the site of injury. Activities such as excessive movement, heat rub and hot baths should therefore be avoided as should drinking alcohol. You should not ignore your injury and try to carry on as normal as this will delay your recovery.

Physiotherapy for a tendon injury in the hand.

When your tendon has healed, you will be able to begin a physiotherapy programme to try and return to your original fitness levels and to your normal activities of daily living. Physiotherapy will focus on reducing any stiffness with stretching and strengthening exercises and special mobilisations. You may also still have some pain and swelling which may be treated with cyrotherapy (ice) and taping techniques to help support your hand. Other treatments may include:

Can a tendon injury in the hand have any long-term effects?

Most tendon injuries in the hand heal successfully within a few weeks. However, if the tendon has been ruptured and requires surgery, it will take a lot longer to heal and can cause lasting pain and stiffness. The tendons in the hand are surrounded by a number of blood vessels, nerves, ligaments and joints and more severe injuries can cause damage to these structures. This will delay your recovery time and you may need more extensive treatment and physiotherapy.

To arrange a physiotherapy appointment call on 0330 088 7800 or book online.

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