Information for patients
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What is a Sagittal Band?
The sagittal bands on each finger are part of the extensor tendon. The bands work with the tendons to straighten your fingers or thumb. The bands are located close to the large knuckles of each finger, known as the metacarpal phalangeal joints.
What is a Sagittal Band repair?
When injured, you will need to have surgery to repair the sagittal band, which helps to straighten your injured finger or thumb. Injury to the sagittal band is serious and will require regular therapy to regain movement, this is because your sagittal band will be very weak after being repaired, and therefore it can easily break.
What can I expect after surgery?
You will have:
- A large bandage around your whole hand, which you must not remove.
- Swelling around the area of injury. This is normal and should subside over time. Elevating your hand above your heart can reduce this.
- Some pain in your hand where the surgery has taken place, which is normal. Please discuss with your Hand Therapist.
- An appointment with the Hand Therapy Team within 1 week after your surgery.
How do I care for my wound?
Please do not remove any dressings yourself. Your Hand Therapist will assess, check and change your dressing at each appointment. The wound on your hand may now be bigger than the original cut as to allow the surgeon to fully inspect and repair the damage.
Care has to be taken in order to minimise the risk of infection and this can be helped by keeping the dressing clean and dry.
You will have stitches in the tendon as well as the stiches in the skin. Stitches in the skin are either dissolvable which dissolves in 2-3 weeks or removable that will be taken out by your Hand Therapist 10 – 14 days after your operation.
Once your Hand Therapist has removed the dressing, it is very important that you check your wound for signs of infection, for example redness, swelling, oozing and/or smell. If you have any of the above symptoms please contact the department, your GP or the Urgent Care Centre as soon as possible. It is more difficult to check the wound for signs of infection whilst the dressing is in place, please check the dressing for oozing and smell, and monitor for increased pain levels. Again, if you have any of these symptoms please contact the department, your GP or the Urgent Care Centre as soon as possible.
What exercises can I do?
After your operation you will follow a strict rehabilitation programme for 12 weeks. At your first appointment with your Hand Therapist you will be given specific exercises that should be completed regularly.
Please do not try your own exercises as this could cause damage to the sagittal band.
You will be provided with a plastic splint in order to protect your sagittal band repair. Your Hand Therapist will make you a splint to wear on your injured hand, which stops the repaired finger or thumb bending.
It must be worn continuously for 4 weeks; you must not use your injured hand while wearing the splint.
To care for the splint, you should:
- Keep the splint clean and dry – cover in a plastic bag for showering/bathing
- Keep away from sources of heat
- Clean the outside with baby wipes or a damp cloth
You should not:
- Remove the splint
- Try to make alterations to your splint
Please be aware wearing a splint continuously can cause irritation of the skin on your hand. You may notice some rubbing or digging in. If this becomes red, dry or blistered please contact your Hand Therapist. Please bring your splint to each Hand Therapy session.
How should I care for my scar?
Your Hand Therapist will show you and advise you when to start scar massage. This is normally once the wound has healed and is scabbed over.
Scar massage is useful as it helps to breakdown the scar tissue. This allows the scar to move more freely and reduces the risk of the scar becoming sensitive.
To complete scar massage you should:
- Apply firm pressure in circular movements along the length of the scar
- Use non perfumed cream
- Complete for 5 minutes at a time at least 4 times a day
When can I return to my normal activities?
Your repaired sagittal band is weak for approximately 12 weeks after the operation and care has to be taken to protect it. Your Hand Therapist will guide you through each stage of the healing process.
(The Table below gives some examples of timescales and activities.)
|LIGHT (6 WEEKS)||MEDIUM (8 WEEKS)||HEAVY (12 WEEKS)|
|Washing/shaving/make up||Sweeping Up||Washing hands or wringing out clothes|
|Putting on light clothes||Unscrewing jars/tins||Using a knife|
|Fastening zips/ buttons||Hanging washing out||Gardening|
|Combing hair||Washing up and wiping up||Carrying shopping|
|Tying shoe laces||Ring pull can opening||Lifting boxed|
|Switching on light switch||Using knife/ fork/ spoon but not cutting mean||Ironing|
|Reading newspaper||Holding a pint of liquid or cup of tea||Cooking and listing pans and kettle|
|Playing cards||Using scissors||Making bed|
|Using telephone||Using a towel||Vacuuming|
|Handling money||Opening and closing door handles||Lifting children|
|Using remote control||Using key to open door||Lifting heavy objects|
|Writing and typing||Driving||Cleaning car|
|Dusting||Putting on socks||Decorating|
|Reading a book||Sport – golf/swimming/gym/cycling/running/football/rugby|
Do I need to take time off work?
Your Hand Therapist will discuss with you when it is appropriate to return to your normal work and hobbies. Please speak to your GP, if you need a sick note.
The table below gives you a guide of when you may expect to return to work. This will depend on the type of work or activity you do.
|Type of work/ activity||Approximate time off|
|Office based||6-8 weeks|
|Manual work / contact sport||12 weeks|
If you need any further advice regarding:
- Your appointment with the consultant.
- The surgery you have had.
- Your wound, dressing or cast.
Please contact your local Orthopaedic Outpatient Department.
Orthopedic Outpatient Department
North Tees and Hartlepool – Monday – Friday, 8:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
North Tees – Saturday, 8:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
North Tees: 01642 624473
Hartlepool: 01429 522590
Hand Therapy Team
Please contact the Hand Therapy Team if:
- You have any concerns or questions regarding your exercises.
- Your splint is rubbing, uncomfortable or damaged.
Hand Therapy Team
Monday – Friday
8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Telephone: 01429 522471
You will be asked to attend either:
1st Floor, North Wing
University Hospital of North Tees
Physiotherapy Outpatients Department
University Hospital of Hartlepool
Comments, concerns, compliments or complaints
Patient Experience Team (PET)
We are continually trying to improve the services we provide. We want to know what we’re doing well or if there’s anything which we can improve, that’s why the Patient Experience Team (PET) is here to help. Our Patient Experience Team is here to try to resolve your concerns as quickly as possible. The office is based on the ground floor at the University Hospital of North Tees if you wish to discuss concerns in person. If you would like to contact or request a copy of our PET leaflet, please contact:
Telephone: 01642 624719
Freephone: 0800 092 0084
Opening hours: Monday to Friday, 9:30am to 4:00pm
Email: [email protected]
Out of hours
Out of hours if you wish to speak to a senior member of Trust staff, please contact the hospital switchboard who will bleep the appropriate person.
Telephone: 01642 617617
Data protection and use of patient information
The Trust has developed Data Protection policies in accordance with Data Protection Legislation (UK General Data Protection Regulations and Data Protection Act 2018) and the Freedom of Information Act 2000. All of our staff respect these policies and confidentiality is adhered to at all times. If you require further information on how we process your information please see our Privacy Notices.
Telephone: 01642 383551
Email: [email protected]Privacy Notices
This leaflet has been produced in partnership with patients and carers. All patient leaflets are regularly reviewed, and any suggestions you have as to how it may be improved are extremely valuable. Please write to the Clinical Governance team, North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust, University Hospital of North Tees, TS19 8PE or:
Email: [email protected]
Leaflet Reference: PIL1422
Date for Review: 08/03/2026