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What is a Tendon?

What is a Tendon?

Do you have trouble bending your fingers, or are you experiencing pain and swelling in your hand? If so, your tendons could be to blame. 

Tendons are like strong yet flexible cords that connect muscles to bones and absorb some of the impact muscles take during physical exercise. 

We asked the board-certified orthopedic surgeons with MidJersey Orthopaedics to explain what a tendon is, how you can prevent tendon injuries, and what treatments are available for painful tendons. 

Understanding tendons

You’ve probably seen a tendon when spreading your hand. The hard, cord-like tissues that you can see connecting the base of your fingers to the rest of your hands are the tendons that enable finger movements. 

Tendons are sturdy, but they aren’t stretchy. As a result, they’re susceptible to injuries related to overuse and overstretching. 

The Achilles tendon is the one that deals with the most impact. It’s located in the back of your lower leg between your heel and your calf, and it’s the tendon that you're most likely to injure, especially if you’re a runner. 

How do tendon injuries occur?

Repetitive movements for prolonged periods and degradation of collagen fiber can contribute to tendon injuries. 

Tendons can sometimes get injured due to poor blood flow and inflammation. You may have poor blood flow to your hands because of vascular issues, diabetes, or aging. 

The causes of inflamed tendons, a condition known as tendinitis, are unknown. But people who experience it are more likely to suffer from gout, kidney disease, or some form of arthritis.

If you injure a tendon, you may feel numbness, tingling, and pain. If you injure a tendon in your hand, you may be unable to bend your fingers. 

Preventing tendon injuries 

If you have a long day of using your hands and fingers ahead, stretch your palms and fingers regularly. Massages can also help improve blood flow to the tendons, speed up healing, and make tendons a little bit more flexible. 

As with muscles, you can strengthen tendons through resistance exercises. 

Treating painful tendons 

Depending on the cause of your symptoms, we may recommend:

If conservative measures fail to alleviate your symptoms, surgery could be an option. We sometimes recommend tendon repair surgery for people who have deep cuts to their tendons or tendons that have been severely damaged by arthritis. 

If you’re suffering from discomfort and pain in your hand, call MidJersey Orthopaedics or book an appointment online.

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