Daily Bolus of LR: Kanavel’s Cardinal Signs of Flexor Tensosynovitis

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January 24, 2012 by dailybolusoflr

Kanavel's Cardinal Signs of Flexor Tensosynovitis

Flexor tenosynovitis is infection along the tendon sheath that has the ability to spread up the hand as the various digital sheaths extend up to the palmar arch, thenar and midpalmar spaces and the radial bursa.

The following four signs (Kanavel's Cardinal Signs) are used for the diagnosis of flexor tenosynovitis:

1. Finger held in flexion
2. Fusiform swelling of the entire finger
3. Pain with attempts to extend the finger
4. Tenderness along the course of the extensor tendon sheath

Infectious tenosynovitis is treated with operative drainage of the infection. Some authors try antibiotics and spinting/elevation if the infection is treated within the first 24-48 hours but in most cases, surgical intervention is required.

Ref: Wheeless' Textbook of Orthopaedics

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