Tendons connect muscles to bone and represent the body’s solution to the transmission of muscle forces across distances and with respect to anatomical constraints. Perhaps nowhere in the body are tendons so important as in the hand. As such, tendons often exist in superficial locations and are at risk of injury. Penetrating injuries can lead to tendon lacerations that result in a loss of function.
Tendon lacerations usually require surgery to repair the tendons. Incisions in the skin expose the tendon ends, which are reapproximated and repaired, usually with strong sutures. Surgery is best done promptly after injury; waiting too long may make the surgery more difficult or affect the outcome. After surgery, a balance between protection and motion is required to allow healing while avoiding stiffness or adhesions of the tendon. Some type of protection, such as a splint and activity restrictions, is necessary to avoid rupture of the tendon repair as it heals. Occupational therapy exercises allow controlled motion to avoid stiffness and adhesions, and can help decrease swelling and maximize the functional outcome.
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