specializing in advanced surgical care of hand, wrist, and elbow injuries and conditions

Extensor Tendon Injuries

The extensor tendons are the cord like structures on the back of our hands. They are responsible for straightening our fingers and thumbs.  These tendons are vulnerable to injury such as a simple cut, jammed finger, or laceration from power tools. Frequently, if the extensor tendon has been injured it is obvious due to an immediate deformity or an inability to straighten our finger.

There are different types of extensor tendon injuries. Common injuries include the following:

  • Mallet Finger: This deformity present with a “droop” and an inability to straighten the tip. This injury often occurs with a forceful impact to the fingertip and will not heal on its own.
  • Boutonnière Deformity: This deformity presents with the middle joint bent forward and an inability to straighten this joint. This deformity may also affect the tip of the finger causing it to hyperextend.

The other type of extensor tendon injury is a laceration to the tendon. This may occur from a simple cut or from a more significant wound or laceration.

Treatment for extensor tendon injuries vary based on severity of the injury. The treatment may involve prolonged splinting or may require surgery to repair or stabilize the tendon. If you suspect an extensor tendon injury you should contact a hand surgeon to determine the most appropriate treatment.