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Hand tendon and ligament injury

What are hand tendon and ligaments injuries?

The hands and wrists contain many bones, tendons and ligaments which can easily become damaged from repetitive movements, degenerative conditions and sports injuries.

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Some of the common hand tendon and ligament injuries are:

Thumb ligament tears

The thumb ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) is a ligament between the base of the thumb and index finger. It can become damaged if the thumb is suddenly forced away from your hand and is most commonly seen people who play football, and netball and those who go skiing.

Skier's thumb is a common thumb ligament injury injury. It is commonly caused by an outward force on the thumb, such as when a skier falls and grabs the ski pole.


The injury is characterised by pain and swelling in the thumb joint and can range from mild to severe. It is important for skiers to recognise the signs and symptoms of skier's thumb so that they can seek medical attention as soon as possible.


Treatment for skier's thumb usually involves immobilisation of the thumb and splinting, followed by physiotherapy to ensure the thumb regains full range of motion.


If the injury is severe, surgery may be necessary.

Hand tendon injuries

The flexor tendons run along the forearm to the fingers along the palm and allows you to bend your fingers and grip things.


The extensor tendons run alongside the forearm to the fingers along the back of the hand and allow you to straighten and stretch your fingers. They can often be injured playing sports like rugby or by overusing the grip in sports such as bouldering and rock climbing. 

You may need surgery to repair damaged tendons to enable your orthopaedic hand surgeon to stitch the tendons back together. 


Tendonitis is another injury resulting from overuse which results in inflammation, and swelling in the tendon which results in pain.


The pain may be reduced with rest, and use of anti-inflammatories. If they do not help then steroid injections or surgery to remove the damaged tendon may more suited.

De Quervain’s tendonitis

De Quervain's is when the tendons the connects the forearm to the thumb is inflamed and painful. It may be seen more in activities that involve a grip such as golf and tennis.


You may be advised to carry out exercises to help strengthen the muscle. If the pain persists you may be offered decompression surgery to create more space the tendon to move. 

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