Nerve and tendon injuries in the hand
It can happen to anyone. Petra Kvitova a two-time Wimbledon champion unfortunately learned the hard way, by no fault of her own, just how serious a tendon injuries can be. Kvitova, a left handed tennis player was attacked in December. Fighting off a knife attack, she sustained tendon and nerve injuries to all five fingers. Fortunately she did not sustain any other life threatening injuries during the attack but she still has a long road ahead of her before she steps back on the tennis court.
What do the flexor tendons do?
The flexor tendons run from the tips of the fingers through the hand and wrist attaching to the forearm muscles. When the muscles in the forearm are activated it pulls on the tendons that are attached to the bones making the fingers bend; much like a marionette that is controlled by a person and strings. The person pulls on a string and makes the marionette perform amazing feats. If a string is cut the marionette is paralyzed.
The hands are very complicated and intricately designed masterpieces but are also subject to a lot of abuse as well as risk. We have seen numerous kitchen injuries in our office from a slip of the knife to a can lid slicing a finger.
The question is, what really is involved in recovering from a tendon injury?
A tendon injury needs to be seen by a specialist as soon as possible. If a tendon is cut completely it can pull farther and farther away from where it was originally attached just by your muscles activating and trying to make it work. A tendon rupture or laceration is almost always a surgical problem and if left untreated for a mere few weeks it may be unrepairable. Time is of the essence when it comes to tendon injuries.
Following surgery to repair the tendons, the hand will need to be protected in a splint or cast. When possible, some early exercises will be started to allow for some mobilization and tendon gliding but still protect the repair. After that is when the real work and sweat begins.
Gaining motion, fighting stiffness, restoring tendon gliding, and last of all strength will be a long, slow and tedious progress. Hard work and commitment to the exercises prescribed by the physician and therapists is the only way to get the results needed to restore function.
“I don’t care about how much time it takes, if three months, six months or a year,” she said. “But that’s for sure I want to return one day, and I’ll do all I can to make that happen. I had no doubt about my return to the tennis circuit for a second.”- Petra Kuitova
We wish Petra all the luck on a speedy recovery.
By: Stephanie Jones