Hand tendon and ligament injuries

A hand sprain or strain is an injury to a ligament or tendon. The ligaments are short fibrous bands of tissue that connects the different bones of a joint while the tendons are rope-like tissues that connect muscle to bone. Injuries to the tendons and ligaments within the hand are often caused by a fall on an outstretched hand, trauma such as forceful lifting or twisting or pulling on a finger, sports injury or even straining on a daily basis for those who work with their hands on a daily basis.

Hand sprains cause pain, swelling, weakness, and may vary from mild to severe. In some cases, a tendon or ligament injury can be so severe that it causes a dislocation to occur. Severe injuries which cause lasting pain and restrict the use of the hand should be checked out by your doctor.

The most common tendon and ligament injuries of the upper limb include the wrist ligaments, the scapholunate and the triangular fibrocartilage complex and the extensor (commonly mallet finger) and flexor tendons of the finger.

How are tendon and ligament injuries treated?

Treatment of tendon and ligament injuries of the hand, wrist and fingers usually involves rest, ice and immobilization. In some cases, corticosteroid injections may be advised. In most cases, treatment will involve the help of a hand therapist to regain mobility and strengthen the hand after healing.

In severe cases, surgery may be required to treat a ruptured ligament or torn tendon, or to pin the dislocated bone in place to prevent recurrent dislocations. The best treatment for your specific hand injury will be decided by your hand surgeon after he has completed a more comprehensive assessment of the injury.