Flexor tendon sheath infection

A flexor tendon sheath infection is considered as a serious condition. An infection might occur after an injury to the finger, deep wound or penetrating trauma.

Once bacteria enter the sheath, the body could not efficiently fight an infection. It is important to note that there is no available blood supply to the synovial fluid inside the tendon sheath.

What are the signs?

The indications of a flexor tendon sheath infection typically manifest within a week of injury and includes the following:

  • Swollen finger
    Flexor tendon sheath infection
    Finger pain if movement is attempted.
  • Tenderness along the tendon sheath
  • Finger pain if movement is attempted
  • Limited movement with the finger held in a slightly bent position

Management of flexor tendon sheath infection

The vital step is to recognize the issue quickly and start treatment as soon as possible. Most cases are due to bacteria usually present on the skin surfaces such as strep and staph bacteria.

Antibiotics are a vital part of treatment but not enough. Due to the limited blood supply to the flexor tendon sheath, antibiotics could not reach the site easily. Surgery is necessary to clean out the infection from the sheath.

The surgical procedure to cleanse out the flexor tendon sheath is generally accomplished with the creation of 2 miniature incisions. One is created at the finger base and another close to the tip.

Saline fluid is flushed via the sheath to clear out the infection. As for advanced cases of infection, the whole sheath must be surgically exposed to clean out the infection.

A flexor tendon sheath infection is a serious condition and often takes months to fully recover. In serious cases, the individual could not recover full mobility of the finger.

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