Flexor Tenosynovitis of the Hand—Kanavel’s Signs

Flexor tenosynovitis is an infection of the synovial sheath around the tendons of the flexorfingers and hand. The affected finger is red, swollen, and painful due to infection occurring with deep puncture wounds, such as a splinter. Pain is located in the finger at the flexor tendon sheath. Signs of infection of the tendon sheath are called Kanavel’s Signs. There are four Kavanel’s Signs to support the presence of flexor tenosynovitis.

Flexor Tenosynovitis (Kanavel’s Signs)

  1. Uniform swelling of entire finger
  2. The finger is flexed
  3. Intense pain when attempting to straighten the finger
    1. Occurs early
  4. Tenderness along the tendon sheath is the most specific sign.

Treatment consists of antibiotics and surgery may be performed by incision and drainage of the infection.


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