The incidence of acute traumatic tendon injuries in the hand and wrist: A 10-year population-based study

Johanna P. de Jong, Jesse T. Nguyen, Anne J.M. Sonnema, Emily C. Nguyen, Peter C. Amadio, Steven L. Moran

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

59 Scopus citations


Background: Acute traumatic tendon injuries of the hand and wrist are commonly encountered in the emergency department. Despite the frequency, few studies have examined the true incidence of acute traumatic tendon injuries in the hand and wrist or compared the incidences of both extensor and flexor tendon injuries. Methods: We performed a retrospective population-based cohort study of all acute traumatic tendon injuries of the hand and wrist in a mixed urban and rural Midwest county in the United States between 2001-2010. A regional epidemiologic database and medical codes were used to identify index cases. Epidemiologic information including occupation, year of injury, mechanism of injury and the injured tendon and zone were recorded. Results: During the 10-year study period there was an incidence rate of 33.2 injuries per 100,000 person-years. There was a decreasing rate of injury during the study period. Highest incidence of injury occurred at 20-29 years of age. There was significant association between injury rate and age, and males had a higher incidence than females. The majority of cases involved a single tendon, with extensor tendon injuries occurring more frequently than flexor tendons. Typically, extensor tendon injuries involved zone three of the index finger, while flexor tendons involved zone two of the index finger. Work-related injuries accounted for 24.9% of acute traumatic tendon injuries. The occupations of work-related injuries were assigned to major groups defined by the 2010 Standard Occupational Classification structure. After assigning these patients' occupations to respective major groups, the most common groups work-related injuries occurred in construction and extraction occupations (44.2%), food preparation and serving related occupations (14.4%), and transportation and material moving occupations (12.5%). Conclusions: Epidemiology data enhances our knowledge of injury patterns and may play a role in the prevention and treatment of future injuries, with an end result of reducing lost work time and economic burden.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)196-202
Number of pages7
JournalClinics in Orthopedic Surgery
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2014



  • Hand
  • Incidence
  • Injury
  • Tendon
  • Trauma
  • Wrist

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine

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