Extensor Tendon Injuries

Extensor tendon injuries are common among basketball, football, and volleyball players but are not exclusive to sports injuries. The extensor tendons start in the forearm and allow your wrist, fingers, and thumb to straighten. They are located on the back of your hand and fingers and lie just under the skin directly on the bone. Because of their location, they can become injured easily. Injuries are often a result of a jammed finger or a cut on the top of your fingers or hand and can include mallet finger, snapping tendons, and swan neck and boutonniere deformity. If you experience an extensor tendon injury, you may find it hard to straighten your fingers. Contact our hand and wrist specialists to determine if this condition may be affecting you.


  • Loss of function in the affected fingers
  • Inability to open hand or fingers
  • Deformity at the joint


  • Cut or laceration on the back of the hand or fingers. This can be minor or severe to the point of complete laceration or rupture of the tendon.
  • Crushing injuries such as slamming a finger in a door or as a result of occupational tasks
  • Jammed fingers common with sports such as basketball, volleyball, and football
  • Sports injuries
  • Broken bones
  • General hand or finger trauma
  • Arthritis

Risk Factors

  • Participating in sports like basketball, volleyball, or football
  • Occupations where risk of hand injury or crushing is higher
  • Arthritis


  • Physical examination of the affected area
  • X-ray to show bone health
  • MRI or ultrasound to show the extent and location of the injured tendon

Treatment Options

  • Wearing a finger splint to allow the tendon to heal in proper alignment
  • Physical therapy
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications for pain relief
  • Surgical repair may be recommended for severe cases to prevent permanent deformity and loss of motion