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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 right away.

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).

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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, antibiotics, and surgery.

By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer David Messenger, MD
Last Revised November 4, 2010

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: November 04, 2010
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

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