Severed tendon in thumb

jennNovember 12, 2006

I severed the tendon in my thumb yesterday. They sutured the wound in the ER but I need to see a hand surgeon tomorrow to re-open the wound, reconnect the tendon, and close the wound. I knew almost immediately that the tendon was severed because I cannot bend back the tip of my thumb.

Has anyone done this? I'm curious about the extent of the surgery and what I will (and will not) be able to do in the coming weeks.

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Talk to the surgeon, not us!

    Bookmark   November 12, 2006 at 9:28PM
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I will, today...... I was just curious if this happened to anyone else here and what their experience was. At this point, I should know in a matter of hours.

    Bookmark   November 13, 2006 at 10:16AM
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I think the experience is different for everyone, but I severed the reflexor tendons in my right hand to all 4 fingers 28 years ago. A hand surgeon was called in to reattach them that evening. My hand was immobilized in a cast and splint for 6 weeks. When it came off, I was very tenacious with physical therapy, as I am right-handed. The surgeon told me at my final visit that he was honestly not certain that I would regain full use of that hand and was pleased that I had. The best advice I could offer is follow all instructions and don't let up on the exercises, when the time comes.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2006 at 9:59PM
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How's it going Jenn?
Like with everything, I'm sure the post surgical physical therapy is extremely important. I hope things are going well for you.

    Bookmark   November 21, 2006 at 8:54AM
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Virginia -- ouch!! I'm glad you regained full use of your hand.... that sounds like a horrible injury.

Catherine, thanks for asking. I had surgery to repair the tendon last week. I'm wearing a splint which will be replaced with a cast next week, and I'll wear that for 3 weeks. I still can't believe I required an actual surgery in an operating room, IVs, the works, for a small cut! I will ask him about physical therapy when I see him next week. I'm laughing at the thought of having to do thumb exercises for weeks... but I certainly will do whatever I'm asked to do. :-)


    Bookmark   November 22, 2006 at 2:43PM
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Glad to hear you're on the mend Jen.
When I worked in the ER, they used to sew them back together there.......but when I would see them later, they appeared to not have full extension of their maybe you're going the better route!
Yes, picturing one's self doing thumb exercises does make one chuckle! :) Good luck to you.

    Bookmark   November 22, 2006 at 6:14PM
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Catherine, yes, I think it does require the expertise of a hand surgeon. I can already extend the tip now... something I could not do last week no matter how hard I tried. :-)


    Bookmark   November 23, 2006 at 12:19AM
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It turns out the cut was deeper than I thought. The surgeon discovered, during the surgery, that I also went through the joint capsule and into the joint. I was stunned when I heard that.

Can anyone explain the joint capsule? Is it formed by the ligaments that join the bones at the joint?

I'm a little horrified over the damage done by what felt like just a brush against the skin the moment it happened...


    Bookmark   December 2, 2006 at 11:16PM
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I severed my fifth tendon (pinky) about six months ago, along with damage to my ulnar nerve. I went to the hospital and they stitched up my hand and sent me home with a referall to a hand surgeon. About two weeks later I had surgery at the Indiana Hand Center. My tendon was reconnected and ulnar nerve repaired. I had a wrap on my hand up to my elbow for a few weeks until I had my post-surgery checkup. My hand had been wrapped with the fingers out and this was the first time they had been stretched. The nurse started to curl them in and make my hand into a fist, there is some pain with that. My hand was extremely stiff not to mention my pinky. From there on I wore a brace for my hand and do hand exercises everyday. The first day I could not move and single finger myself, by about two weeks I had pretty much all movement. This physical therapy won't be fun but it's important to do all the exercises they give you. My hand is fine these days but there are a few things that probably won't change. Parts of my hand, paticularly the wounds, tingle and don't have much touch sensation. I suspect that was because of my nerve damage though. My pinky feels a slight bit more stiff then my other fingers. I have regained 100% strength in this hand though. I'm not sure what your hand will look like afterwards, I cannot tell because my wounds were done by glass, so the cuts are much more wide. At the hospital when they pulled back the cut to clean the inside I was able to see the bones and cut tendon it was quite a sight.

    Bookmark   November 12, 2007 at 1:41PM
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Jenn, did the same thing. Had surgery in September. Severed 2 tendons and a nerve in my left thumb. Am in PT now, but having trouble getting movement back. Doc said more surgery may be necessary, so I am working extra hard in PT to avoid more cutting. Good luck to u

    Bookmark   November 26, 2007 at 11:11AM
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I severed my Flexor Tendon, and all the nerves above my IP Joint in my left thumb on 11-25-07 on my table saw. A surgeon from The Indiana Hand Center met me at the hospital that same day to repair the damage that I inflicted upon myself. With-in a month I had a 'sensation' to touch in my thumb above my IP Joint. I continued my PT (Physcal Therapy), but was informed that surgery (Arthrofibrosis) would be required to remove scar tissue and to relieve my capillaries in order to get the motion back in my IP Joint. This surgery was performed on 4-4-08. On 4-11-08 while doing my PT I felt something snap. I underwent a 3rd surgery on 4-18-08. What had happened was that my Flexor Tendon ruptured at the point that it attached to my bone in my thumb. I now have my Flexor Tendon sewed back on and 2 wires running through the Flexor Tendon and out through the bone then the thumb nail with a button to keep them from pulling back into my thumb. I have complete faith of getting at least 60% usage of my thumb back. After being without it for the past 5 1/2 months, that sounds wonderful. I've done extensive research on this on the internet, and everything tells me the same basic information. Stick to your therapy appointments, and do all your therapy as instructed if you expect a good recovery. I hope yours doesn't go the way mine has, but I still have faith in my recovery. I'll keep you in my prayers

    Bookmark   April 22, 2008 at 12:57PM
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I did exactly this three weeks ago, had the surgeon repair the tendon its called EPL extendor tendon or something similar, I severed it using a saw and made quite a mess of the top of my thumb, now its healing and swollen its so tight I have some movement of the last didget but yeah if you read this knowing it was a few years ago you did has it healed,

    Bookmark   May 1, 2011 at 9:40AM
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Chris, sorry about your accident! I can't believe it's been more than 4 years since mine, and my thumb has healed well. It will never be 100% but it's is close enough. I also cut halfway through the joint capsule (which holds together the bones of the thumb joint). When I do any heavy work that requires the strength and leverage of the thumb, I feel an ache deep in the joint and a slight weakness, and the joint is slightly stiff; however, overall I'm happy with the results. I can almost fully extend the tip of my thumb which was not possible before surgery.

I hope all of you have healed well and have a new respect for those sharp objects! :)

    Bookmark   May 11, 2011 at 11:51PM
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i severed my thumb tendon 6 weeks ago so im now exercising my thumb back to use but lately ive been getting minor aches to my upperarm muscle area,could this be due to the fact that my arm hasnt been very active lately?

    Bookmark   June 5, 2011 at 4:27PM
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Hi jenn happy i found your post and everything healed makes me feel better
so I severed my extender tendon in my left thumb on friday jun 3 and was wondering about how long everyone else had a cast for. I got surgery the same day and have a wire in my thumb now and it's wrapped up till I get a cast.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2011 at 8:30PM
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