Tendon Repair: Process and Recovery

Initially, the tendon is very weak and you may experience swelling as your body sends chemicals to heal the tendon and the tissues that have been damaged.

Jul 2023

Table of contents

Understanding Tendon Repair

Initial Phase

  • The tendon's integrity is mostly sustained by stitches.
  • The body begins to generate new tendon tissues; however, their connections remain fragile.
  • There might be swelling as the body releases chemicals to mend the damaged tissues. Utilising coban and tubigrip can help alleviate this inflammation.

Recovery and Rehabilitation

Weeks 1-3

  • Silicone application to the scar can help reduce excessive scarring.
  • Introducing gentle movement to the injured region begins. Controlled forces are applied to the tendon to enable its fibres to align and mature.
  • A splint is worn, except during therapy sessions.

Weeks 4-7

  • Starting from the fourth week, light functional activities, not exceeding 1kg, are introduced to strengthen the tendon.
  • The splint remains in use for a total of five to six weeks.

Weeks 8-12

  • By the eighth week, the wound starts to contract and swelling begins to diminish.
  • The hand regains a more normal feeling and a modified work return can be initiated.
  • At approximately twelve weeks, the tendon should regain its full strength, mirroring the characteristics of an undamaged tendon.

Right hand with damaged tendon

Treatment Recommendations

Workplace Communication

It's vital to maintain open dialogue with your employer to ensure they're aware of the extent and nature of your injury. If possible, it's advisable to resume work duties that only require one hand.

Exercise and Maintenance

For the best outcomes, strictly follow the exercise routine designed by your hand therapist. While the hand is recovering, keep all your other joints active to maintain their health. Your therapist will provide guidance on which joints to mobilise and which ones to keep static.

Other Considerations

Before you get back behind the wheel, consult your car insurance provider. Typically, a waiting period of twelve weeks is required post-surgery.

For further details and treatment options, please reach out to us.

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