Tendon injury – forearm or hand

  • Pain control

    Give medications as required for pain (paracetamol and ibuprofen are available from pharmacies without prescription). Local anaesthetic is often injected during surgery; this will wear off over 24 hours and pain may increase at this time. Any areas that are made numb by the local anaesthetic should regain sensation at this time.


    Keep the plaster clean, dry and intact. Keep the arm elevated in a sling to reduce pain and swelling and encourage faster healing. The sling can be taken off at night and the hand elevated on pillows.


    Restrict your child to gentle activities to prevent damage to the healing areas. Unless specifically advised otherwise it is important to keep the hand and wrist still as the repaired area of tendon is at risk of snapping if movements are started too early. When the plaster is removed an occupational therapist will be involved in teaching specific exercises and your child may have a splint to wear. It is important that these exercises are carried out as directed.

    What to expect

    Your surgeon will be able to tell you whether full function will be regained after the injury; this depends on the type of injury. Some stiffness will be likely when the plaster is removed but should resolve in days to weeks. The wound will have a scar. Every effort is made to minimise scarring and achieve the best cosmetic result. You will be given instructions at your review appointment on what to do to prevent poor healing and bad scarring. This may include the use of tapes or massage with sorbolene cream or aloe vera. Avoid exposure to sun for at least 12 months and always use a strong sunscreen if sun exposure is unavoidable.

    Medical attention

    Seek medical attention if your child has:

    • Increasing pain or pain that is not relieved by medication
    • Persistent fever
    • General unwellness
    • Colour changes (white, blue, purple) or swelling to the fingers or toes
    • Persistent pins and needles or numbness
    • Wound discharge or increasing redness
    • Cracking or loosening of the plaster cast


    Your follow-up appointment will be at one of the following:

    • Plastic Surgery Outpatients (Registrar Clinic), Blue Desk, Ground Floor, The Royal Children's Hospital (am appointment)
    • Consultant Clinic 
    • Consultant Private Rooms 
    • Local doctor

    If you are unable to keep your appointment please call to reschedule.


    Plastic & Maxillofacial Surgery Office - 9345 5391
    Outpatient appointments - 9345 6180
    Plastic Surgery Resident or Registrar - via switchboard on 9345 5522

    Developed by The Royal Children's Hospital Speech Pathology and Plastic and Maxillofacial Surgery departments. We acknowledge the input of RCH consumers and carers.

    Reviewed November 2015.

    Kids Health Info is supported by The Royal Children’s Hospital Foundation. To donate, visit www.rchfoundation.org.au.


This information is intended to support, not replace, discussion with your doctor or healthcare professionals. The authors of these consumer health information handouts have made a considerable effort to ensure the information is accurate, up to date and easy to understand. The Royal Children's Hospital Melbourne accepts no responsibility for any inaccuracies, information perceived as misleading, or the success of any treatment regimen detailed in these handouts. Information contained in the handouts is updated regularly and therefore you should always check you are referring to the most recent version of the handout. The onus is on you, the user, to ensure that you have downloaded the most up-to-date version of a consumer health information handout.