crystal clinic orthopaedic center summit hand

Tendon Laceration

A laceration is a tear or ragged opening in the skin usually caused by an injury or trauma. A laceration may be either a partial laceration or a complete laceration. Tendons connect muscles to bones and allow coordinated movement of the joints. A deep cut or laceration on the palm side of the hand can damage the flexor tendons, which control movement in your hand. Since the nerves of the hands are located very close to the tendons, a laceration may damage them as well, causing numbness in your fingers.

Causes

Tendon and nerve lacerations may be caused by blunt trauma such as a sudden blow or a fall or by sharp objects such as a knife or broken glass.  

Symptoms

The symptoms of a tendon laceration include pain, tenderness, and inability to bend the joints of your finger. Lacerated nerves often cause pain and numbness in your fingers.

Diagnosis

The diagnosis of tendon and nerve lacerations is made based on your history and physical examination. An X-ray may be taken to rule out any fractures. If the nerves are lacerated your doctor may order an electromyography (EMG) or nerve conduction velocity (NCV), an electrical conduction test to determine the extent of damage to the nerve. Sometimes, an MRI Neurography or CT scan also may be recommended.

Treatment

The treatment for tendon laceration includes cleansing the wound, removal of dead tissue and dressing or splinting of the wound to prevent infection.  If required pain medications or antibiotics may be prescribed to reduce pain and inflammation and prevent infection. Physical therapy is usually prescribed to regain range of motion, strength and function.

If a tendon is completely lacerated, surgery to sew the ends of the tendon back together may be necessary. After surgery, a dressing or splint is applied to protect the repair.

  • The American Board of  Orthopaedic Surgery
  • Allegheny General Hospital
  • University of Pittsburgh  Medical Center
  • University of Cincinnati College of Medicine
  • American Society for Surgery of the Hand
  • American Association for Hand Surgery: AAHS
  • Alpha Omega Alpha