Extensor tendon injuries
Extensor tendons are extensions of some forearm muscles which let the wrist and fingers straighten(Figure 1,2). There are also a group of small muscles (lumbricals and interosseous muscles) which are responsible from extension of fingertips. These muscles are located in the palm. From the knuckles where fingers are seperated from palm, down until the fingertips, the extensor mechanism is very complex. This complexity sometimes makes the correction of the lost function difficult. In our daily life, we use their functions(of extensors) to reach something/somewhere, to release the objects we hold, or for other coordinated complex movements of the upper extremity.
Extensor tendon injuries may be either with cuts etc or closed traumas. Treatment of tendon injuries is to put the injured tendon ends together. Although some extensor injuries such as some Mallet and Boutonierre fingers may be approached by conservative methods using splints, most of tendon injuries need surgical treatment. Permanent sutures are used for tendon repair. In some specific, cases temporary joint fixations with pins(Kirschner wires) may be needed. Optimally, 5 weeks immobilization with splints is required.
Like after all tendon injuries, a physical therapy and rehabilitation is necessary following immobilization period. Patient compliance is determinant for how long this part of the treatment should be and the success at the end.