Aftercare | Tearing of the extensor tendon of the finger


After the operation, a straight splint should be worn for about 6 weeks. This is a splint for the individual finger and immobilizes it and thus the injured tendon. The splint can then be removed.

In most cases, complete stretching is not immediately possible again, as the tendons have been immobilised for a long time. It should then be slowly tried to practice the stretching of the finger again and to get the tendon used to the strain. After some time of practice, in many cases full function is restored. As a general rule, the final result can only be assessed after about 5 to 6 months. In some cases, the finger joint may stiffen in a bending position so that the complete extension can no longer be performed.

Duration of the healing process

To achieve complete and stable healing of the tendon, the finger is usually left in the splint for 6-8 weeks. During this time, the ends of the tendon come together in the overstretched position of the finger and can grow together to withstand strong traction in the future. In principle, wearing the splint for a longer period of time causes the tendon to grow together more firmly and stably.

However, wearing the splint for a longer period of time also increases the immobility of the finger and further restricts its mobility. As a rule, the splint is worn voluntarily for 8-10 weeks. It should then be worn at night for another 2 weeks to avoid jerky or stretching movements at the beginning.

Stressful sports should be paused for further weeks. Physiotherapy and slow movement can also be started slowly after the 8 weeks of treatment. The complete restoration of mobility depends on the individual and can take place at very different speeds. This topic might also be of interest to you:

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When will you be allowed to do sports again?

Sport should only be done after a complete and stable healing of the tendon. After the splint has been worn for 8 weeks, further weeks of protection must follow. A restoration of movement is also often necessary. This can be done with the help of slow exercises or professional physiotherapy within the first 2-3 weeks after taking off the splint. Full weight-bearing of the finger during sport can only be recommended after a total of 12 weeks.


A tear of the extensor tendon of a finger is not uncommon. It is caused by sudden strong bending, for example during ball sports or when making bed. But the tendon can also tear due to degenerative diseases.

In addition to the pain, active stretching of the finger is no longer possible, while passive stretching of the finger is still possible. These are clear indications for the diagnosis of an extensor tendon tear. In most cases a conservative therapy with splint treatment for 5 to 6 weeks is sufficient.

Only more serious and larger tears of the tendon need to be treated surgically. In this case, various other tendons of the fingers can be used as replacements to restore the function of the tendon. The final result can only be assessed after a few months. In some patients an extension deficit may remain for life.