About Left Flexor Tendon Repair
HSS Rehabilitation has prepared this material to help guide you through your recovery. It is important to follow these instructions and precautions closely. If you have more specific questions, please contact your physician or hand therapist.
Hand Anatomy Basics
- DIP: Distal Interphalangeal Joint: the knuckle furthest away from your wrist
- PIP: Proximal Interphalangeal Joint: the middle knuckle
- MCP: Metacarpophalangeal Joint: the knuckle closest to your wrist
- Tendon repair is a very delicate surgery during which the damaged tendons are repaired end-to-end. These repairs can tolerate only a limited amount of tension while healing. Too much tension can result in a rupture of the repair.
- Repaired tendons can take 12 weeks to be strong enough to handle functional activities. Normal use is expected within 14 weeks. Your physician will guide you about when you can resume specific activities.
- Your exercises will be progressed gradually over the coming weeks as the tendon gains more strength and the risk of rupture decreases.
What not to do with your repaired tendon
- Do not fully straighten your fingers when not wearing the orthosis. This will stress the tendon repair.
- Do not attempt to actively make a full fist with your inured hand.
- Do not grasp or lift a heavy object.
Managing your scar
- Keep your incision dry until your sutures are removed. When you shower, cover your hand in a plastic bag. Do not go swimming.
- Your hand therapist and physician will give you specific instructions about dressings to be used on your incision.
- Do not apply ointments to your incision unless directed to do so by your physician.
- Finger stiffness is very common following tendon repair. In the early stages after your injury a combination of swelling, sutures and scar tissue can make the finger feel stiff.
- Your exercises will be adjusted and modified to manage stiffness as effectively as possible.
- The PIP joint has a particular tendency to become stiff in a bent position and unable to fully extend. A close eye will be kept on the function of this joint.
- Wear your orthosis at all times until discontinued by your physician. The orthosis protects your repaired tendon by keeping it in a shortened position to minimize muscle tension while it heals.
- The orthosis may be removed for certain exercises as directed by your hand therapist.