Flexor tendons are the strong, flexible tissues that connect the muscles in the forearm, wrist, palm, and fingers to the bone. These tendons allow you to bend your fingers and make a fist. Flexor tendon injuries can be quite painful and can limit or prevent you from bending your fingers. Fortunately, minor flexor tendon injuries can be treated with at-home physical therapy exercises to repair the range of motion in the injured area.
Causes of a Torn Flexor Tendon Injury
Flexor tendon injuries are not uncommon as the tendons can stretch or tear very easily. Sports injuries are an especially common cause of a flexor tendon injury, particularly ‘jersey finger’, which occurs when a player’s finger gets stuck in another’s jersey and is pulled forcefully. Activities like climbing or pull-ups that involve a lot of hand strength can also damage the tendons. Once a tendon is torn, it may not ever heal completely which is why the tendon is more likely to injure once it has been torn previously.
Physical Therapy Exercises You Can Try at Home
A flexor tendon injury should be diagnosed by a doctor before attempting to perform any sort of at-home remedy. The damage may require further treatment and the extent of the injury should be evaluated. If you experience any serious pain with any of these methods, stop immediately and contact your doctor.
- With an open hand, work on touching each finger to your thumb. You can also try to touch the finger to your wrist.
- Place your hand on a table or other hard surface and individually lift your finger upwards and hold it for about a minute.
- Hold your hand up with your palm facing you. Use your other hand to gently hold the injured finger just below the wounded joint. Slowly bend the finger downwards as much as it will go.
- Squeeze a rolled-up towel or blanket and slowly release your fingers until they are fully extended. Repeat this up to 10 times.
- Use a clothespin or another small household item that will provide some tension when compressed. Squeeze the item with your thumb and the injured finger as much as you can.
- Squeeze a squishy ball (a stress ball works great) in your palm or between any two fingers. This will help stretch the injured tendon.
If your torn flexor tendon requires more intense physical therapy, our highly trained specialists can help.
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