Category : Tendons

Anatomy Extensor Tendons Hand Tendons

Anatomy 101: The Extensor Tendon

Tendons are cord-like extensions that connect muscles to bones. Extensor tendons are thin tendons located on the back of the hand, just under the skin. These particular tendons allow you to straighten your fingers and thumb and can be injured by a simple cut or jammed finger. These injuries can cause the tendons to rip from their attachment to the bone, making it hard to straighten your fingers or thumb as you usually do.

Here are two common conditions that result from an injured extensor tendon:

  1. Mallet Fingers are common in baseball players and are typically caused when a ball hits the tip of the finger or thumb. It causes the finger or thumb to droop at the tip.
  2. Boutonnière Deformities are when the middle part of the finger is bent downward.
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Hand Hand Surgeon Tendon Injuries Tendons

Ask a Doctor: Tendon Injuries

Hand surgeon David J. Bozentka, MD answers your questions about tendon injuries.

What is a tendon?

A tendon is a cord-like structure that attaches a muscle to a bone.  The muscles that allow you to bend and straighten your fingers start in the forearm, and the tendons attach the muscles to your fingers and wrist.  The tendons on the palm side of the hand that bend the fingers and wrist are called flexor tendons.  The tendons on the back side of the hand and wrist are termed extensor tendons.

How do I know that I have a tendon injury?  

Difficulty in fully bending or straightening your finger or wrist after an injury may be related to damage to a tendon.  Lacerations (cuts) to the hand, wrist or forearm are some of the more common reasons you can injure a tendon.  In addition, an injury without an open wound can cause a tendon to pull away from a bone called an avulsion injury.  A Jersey Finger is a term used for a flexor tendon avulsion injury most commonly occurring in the ring finger.  A player that grabs another player’s jersey that is pulled away can avulse a flexor tendon, causing inability to bend the tip joint of the finger.  Alternatively, a Mallet Finger involves an avulsion injury of the extensor tendon leading to a droop of the tip joint of the involved digit.

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Hand Safety Hand Therapy Lawnmower Tendons

Advice from a Hand Therapist: Lawnmower and Equipment Safety – Tendon Injuries

Summer is here which means more time enjoying the outdoors and working to maintain landscaping. This may mean mowing the lawn, trimming the hedges or cutting down those hanging tree limbs. These activities may require the use of equipment that has very sharp edges. In the summer, hand therapists see many injuries related to these activities. One of those being tendon injuries, which can mean a  cut of the tendon(s) in the forearm or hand that help open and close the hand. Tendon injuries can be very serious injuries, especially if not correctly addressed with surgery and rehabilitation. If you cut yourself and find a lack of ability to move a finger, thumb or wrist with your own power, you should seek medical attention immediately.

Typically, a tendon injury will require surgical repair. Hand therapy then becomes a large part of the recovery. You can find a local certified hand therapist through the American Society of Hand Therapists at www.asht.org/find-a-therapist.

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Anatomy Bicep Tendon Tear Hand Muscles Tendons

Anatomy 101: The Distal Biceps

The distal biceps muscle is located in the front of your arm (see image above). This muscle helps you to bend your elbow and twist your forearm. Unfortunately, the biceps is prone to injury, especially the biceps tendon, which connects the bicep muscle to the radius bone in your forearm. This tendon can weaken over time, which is called tendonosis. If you have tendonosis of the biceps tendon, you may feel a dull or sharp pain just past the elbow in the forearm. There’s also a chance that you will feel no pain.

Tendonosis can sometimes lead to a tear or rupture in the tendon. Tears or ruptures can happen when you are lifting something heavy such as furniture or weights.

Some signs that you may have torn or ruptured your biceps tendon include:

  • A popping feeling at the time of the rupture or tear
  • Pain in the elbow area
  • Weakness
  • Swelling
  • Bruising
  • Warmth in the elbow area
  • Muscle spasms
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Elbow Lateral Epicondylitis Tendons Tennis Elbow

How to Treat Tennis Elbow

Tennis elbow, officially called lateral epicondylitis, is a condition involving the degeneration of a tendon’s attachment on the outside (lateral) part of the elbow. Simply put, the degeneration causes pain. The pain may be located on the outside of the elbow, and it can be tender to the touch. This condition can also cause pain during activity, especially when gripping or lifting things. Sometimes, the pain will travel down your forearm and into the hand.

Tennis elbow is commonly caused by overuse, which doesn’t necessarily result from playing tennis. Overuse can be from work-related activities such as typing or plumbing, or non-work activities such as painting. It can also be caused by trauma. If you’ve suffered from a direct blow to the elbow at some point, it may lead to degeneration.

Sometimes, tennis elbow pain will go away on its own. If it doesn’t, here are potential methods for treating this condition:

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Anatomy Hand Tendons Wrist

Anatomy 101: Wrist Tendons

Tendons are fibrous cords that are similar to a rope, attached to muscles and bone. The tendons that control movement in your hands, wrists and fingers run through your forearm. There are 6 tendons that help move your wrist. The wrist tendons are:

  • Flexor carpi radialis: This tendon is one of two tendons that bend the wrist.  It attaches to the base of the second and third hand bones.  It also attaches to the trapezium, one of your wrist bones.
  • Flexor carpi ulnaris: This is the other tendon that bends the wrist. It attaches to the pisiform, another wrist bone, and to the 5th hand bone.
  • Palmaris longus tendon:  This tendon is unique because only 3/4 of the population has it. For those who do have it, it can vary in size. It is, however, a tendon you can live without because it has very little function in the hand and wrist. This tendon is often used to repair other tendons since it serves such a small purpose.
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de Quervain's Tenosynovitis Tendonitis Tendons

Advice from a CHT: How to Prevent Tendonitis in New Mothers

De Quervain’s tenosynovitis is a common, painful inflammation of two tendons that move your thumb.  Most people with de Quervain’s will have pain at their wrist (just below the thumb) that will worsen with thumb or wrist movement. It is most often seen in women, especially in those who have recently had a child or those at the end of pregnancy – usually due to a combination of repetitive movement and an increase in swelling, which naturally occurs during pregnancy; however, all caregivers of young children can be susceptible to this overuse condition.

What can I do to prevent de Quervain’s?

The most important advice is to avoid overuse and repetitive motions of your wrist and thumb. Moving your thumb or wrist from side to side repeatedly (thumb side to little finger side) can provoke symptoms.  Changing the way we do things to rely on stronger, more capable muscles to do a job is helpful.

Specifically for new parents and caregivers, some tips include:

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Bicep Tendon Tear Elbow Shoulder Tendons

A Detailed Guide About Bicep Tendon Tears

Guest post from BicepTendonTear.com

A bicep tendon is a band of fibrous tissues which has the property of being tough as well as flexible. It can withstand tension due to its flexibility. A bicep tendon tear can occur at two places, either at the elbow or at the shoulder. Bicep tear occurring at the shoulder is more common. 90% of the tears happen at the shoulder. Main reasons being over-head weight lifting, not warming up properly before any heavy physical activity, smoking too much, and age. Use of steroids is harmful as well; they lead to various disorders such as deficiency in sperm count, impotency and infertility. Moreover, they may lead to dysplasia of collagen fibrils, which can decrease the tensile strength of tendon, thus causing the bicep tendon to tear. These tears weaken your arm to an extent that 30% of your flexural strength and 40% of your supination strength decreases.

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