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Patient who experienced a finger flexor tendon rupture.

What is Finger Flexor Tendon Rupture (Jersey Finger)

The flexor tendons flex (bend) your fingers.  There are two flexor tendons in each finger – the flexor digitorum sublimis (FDS) and flexor digitorum profundus (FDP).   One of the flexor tendons (FDP) bends the fingertip.  This flexor tendon can rupture from its attachment to the fingertip when excessive stress is applied to it.

Examples of chronic rupture and laceration of the flexor digitorum profundus tendon. Flexor tendon and sheath reconstruction, beginning with placement of a silastic tendon spacer, around which a new sheath forms, required for tendon gliding. After second stage flexor digitorum profundus reconstruction with tendon graft taken from the second toe, replacing the silastic tendon spacer, and progress during rehabilitation.

Symptoms of Finger Flexor Tendon Rupture

Finger pain, reduced finger motion, and stiffness are common symptoms.  The fingertip may not bend when attempting to make a fist.  There may also be swelling and bruising of the finger.

Common Causes of Finger Flexor Tendon Rupture

Finger Flexor Tendon Rupture generally occurs when the fingertip is bent and significant force is applied to straighten it.  This frequently occurs when grabbing a player’s jersey and the fingertip is yanked as the other player runs away in contact sports like football and rugby.   Hence the nickname, “Jersey Finger.”  The ring finger is most frequently injured, partly due to the fact that is more prominent than other fingers when making a fist.

Diagnosing Finger Flexor Tendon Rupture

Speaking with you to understand how your injury occurred is integral to making the correct diagnosis.  A careful physical exam is also essential to evaluate the status of all of the finger flexor tendons and the rest of the hand and wrist.  X-rays are obtained to check for possible associated fractures,  because the finger flexor tendon can pull off a piece of bone from the fingertip when it ruptures.  Sometimes an MRI is used to confirm the diagnosis and to assess how far the ruptured finger flexor tendon has retracted.

Treatment Options for Finger Flexor Tendon Rupture

Finger Flexor Tendon Rupture generally benefits from surgery to reattach the ruptured flexor tendon to the bone at the fingertip.  It is preferable to perform the repair as soon as possible.  Depending on how much retraction of the tendon has occurred and the length of time since the injury, the ruptured flexor tendon sometimes needs to be reconstructed with a tendon graft to allow reattachment to the fingertip.


An injury to your finger that leaves you unable to bend the fingertip represents a potentially serious problem that needs urgent treatment.  Call Dr. Pruzansky at 212-249-8700 to schedule an appointment.

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