Orthopaedics

What is Flexor Tenosynovitis?

Flexor tenosynovitis

is a condition of the

flexor tendon

 

that leads to a disrupted function of it. People who develop this problem experience a severe pain in their finger joints and sometimes, their knuckles. The pain is usually sever when trying to move the fingers or when releasing or closing your fist.

Flexor tenosynovitis

can be identified by a curled finger which can cause severe pain when tried to extend back into the normal position.

Causes of Flexor Synovitis:

This problem of the flexor tendon can be the resultant of an infection (usually caused by Staphylococcus aureus) in the flexor tendon sheath and the surrounding synovial fluid. Upon detecting an infection, the immune system would respond immediately causing the tendon to inflame. An inflamed flexor tendon can cause the sheath to get scarred, which eventually would disrupt the tendon sheath.

  • Infections caused by bite wounds, heamophilus species, anaerobes, mycobacterium tuberculosis, pseudomonas aeruginosa, neisseria gonorrhoeae etc can inflame the tendon sheath.
  • Apart from infections, inflammation of the sheath can be the resultant of autoimmune disorders like diabetes or rheumatoid disorders, a connective tissue disease or overuse of the joint. Each of these problems can cause the sheath to constrict or subject the sheath to micro-trauma leading to tenosynovitis.
  • Nearly 70 percent people suffering from rheumatoid arthritis, and diabetes mellitus are at a serious risk of developing this problem.
  • Other conditions like psoriatic arthritis, sarcoidosis, systemic lupus erythematosus, ochronosis, amyloidosis and crystal deposits also increase the risk of tenosynovitis.

Treatment:

It is important that this problem of the finger joints is treated at the earliest stage possible, as this would eliminate the need for a surgery and also eliminate the risk of any severe long-term complications. Physical therapy would suffice if the problem is diagnosed at an early stage.

  • In diabetic patients, if the disease is not diagnosed until a later stage, antibiotic therapy (where the antibiotics are introduced into the affected joint directly) is required to control the infection.
  • A splint is required to be worn over the injured finger to keep it from curling.

If not treated in time,

flexor tenosynovitis

would result in the permanent loss of the finger.

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