Flexor tendon sheath infection of the fingers or hand

A flexor tendon sheath is the tube (sheath) covering tendons located on the palm side of the fingers and hand. An infection in this tendon sheath can be a serious problem and must be treated immediately.

Injuries of the flexor tendon, such as puncture wounds, cat and dog bites, or embedded foreign bodies, can increase the risk of a flexor tendon infection. These infections can also occur when a gonorrhea infection has spread throughout the body (disseminated gonorrhea infection).

Symptoms of a flexor sheath infection can include:

  • Tenderness along the length of a finger on the palm side of the hand or in the palm area.
  • Pain with movement, especially with straightening a finger. The finger is more comfortable in a flexed position.
  • Redness and skin that is warm to the touch.
  • Swelling.

Medical treatment may include rest, splinting, elevating the area, antibiotic medications, and surgery.

Last Updated: November 13, 2008

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