Finger Extensor Tendon Injury



Extensor tendon injuries may be caused by:

  • A cut to the hand or fingers
  • Stretching the tendon too far, such as when catching a baseball
  • A blow to the finger with an object, such as a ball
  • Weak tendons from health problems, such as rheumatoid arthritis

Risk Factors

This injury is more common in men and people who are middle-aged. Things that can raise the risk are:

  • Contact sports, such as:
    • Basketball
    • Football
  • Having health problems that weaken these tendons, such as rheumatoid arthritis



Symptoms may be:

  • A cut to the back of the hand or fingers
  • Pain and swelling
  • Problems opening the hand or fingers
  • A change in the way the finger looks or feels


The doctor will ask about your symptoms and health history. A physical exam will be done. The doctor will ask how the injury happened. The finger and hand will be checked. A doctor who treats bones or hands may be needed.



A splint will be needed to protect the finger as it heals. Other options are:


Medicine may be given to ease pain. Antibiotics may be used to treat an infection.


Some people may need surgery to repair the tendon. Exercises will also be given to help with finger strength and motion.


This injury happens due to accidents. There are no guidelines to prevent it.

This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.

Edits to original content made by Denver Health.