Home > Blog > Hand Therapy & Customized Splinting > Conditions > Finger, Hand, Wrist, Forearm & Elbow Conditions > Tendon Transfer Hand Therapy

Tendon Transfer Hand Therapy

“Working with a knowledgeable hand therapist can make the difference between success and failure in complex hand surgical cases. The therapist extends the continuum of our care, as well as functioning as coach and trainer for our patients.”

Marybeth Ezaki, MD, Past President, American Society for Surgery of the Hand

In Phoenix Rehab, our senior hand therapists are experienced licensed and dedicated therapists (physiotherapists and/or occupational therapists) who specialized ONLY in the rehabilitation, treatment and management of painful fingers, hands, wrists, forearm & elbow conditions, because of interest, passion and expertise.

Example of a tendon transfer: A spare finger tendon from the index finger (green line) is cut and moved to the injured thumb tendon (red line) to help it straighten the thumb tip

A tendon transfer is a surgery that is done to help regain function of the hand after a nerve or tendon injury.

In this surgery, one end of a working tendon is moved to a different location to help a damaged or non-working tendon and muscle.

The surgeon will explain how the tendon will be moved and what the goals are after surgery.

What can a hand therapist do for me?

Hand therapy before surgery may be recommended to strengthen and stretch the hand in preparation for hand and tendon transfer surgery.

It is important for the joints and skin to be flexible and the working tendon and its muscle, which will be moved, need to be strong.

After hand surgery, the tendon transfer will need protection while healing occurs.

Our senior hand therapists will make a custom orthosis that will protect the healing tendon. The hand will be placed in a safe position that avoids stress on the repair.

We will provide instruction on how to reduce any swelling and scar tightness and how to move the hand safely during healing.

Our senior hand therapists will demonstrate how to perform everyday activities while protecting the transferred tendon.

As the healing progresses, hand therapy will focus on relearning to move and strengthening the new tendon-muscle connection.

What to expect following surgery and therapy?

The purpose of the surgery is to restore lost movement.

The healing process can take up to one year to gain maximum results.

The new tendon is not as strong as the original, but it can restore motion and function to allow patients to return to daily activities.

Example of a custom orthosis that can be fabricated to protect the tendon transfer until healed

Patients may also receive the following hand therapy treatment modalities: