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Can A Severed Tendon Heal On Its Own?

What Is A Severed Tendon?

Tendons are soft band-like tissues which connect muscles to bone. They also help facilitate movement of the joints as when the muscles contract the tendons pull the bones allowing motion of the joint.1 In instances of tendon damage, the movement of a particular joint may be severely affected. The area where the tendon is damaged may be extremely painful and the individual may also feel weak in that region.

The tendons which are most vulnerable to injuries resulting in damage are the tendons of the shoulder, elbows, ankles, knees, and fingers. There may be numerous ways by which a tendon may get severed. A deep cut to the skin may result in the tendon being completely severed from the bone. A tendon may also get severed from the bone post an injury after playing contact sports like football, rugby, or wrestling.

Can A Severed Tendon Heal On Its Own?

Can A Severed Tendon Heal On Its Own?

The tendons in our body are in constant tension since they connect muscle to bone and are almost always in constant motion, especially the tendons of the fingers, hands, and legs. If there is an instance where a tendon is severed for any reason then the ends of the tendon pull far away from the muscle making it virtually impossible for the tendon to heal on its own.

A severed tendon may also lead to nerve damage causing numbness sensation at the affected area. The only time when a severed tendon can heal on its own is when some part of the tendon is still touching the muscle which is not the case if the tendon is completely torn apart from the muscle.

In majority of the cases, it requires surgery to correct a severed tendon. The procedure is normally performed within a week of injury with the understanding that the sooner the surgery is done the better is the outcome and prognosis for a severed tendon.

In cases where a severed tendon is causing an obstruction in the blood supply then an immediate surgery will have to be performed to correct the severed tendon and restore the blood supply to the affected region. The normal recovery time following a surgery for a severed tendon is about 8-10 weeks after which the individual can gradually return back to normal activities after treatment for a severed tendon.

In conclusion, a completely severed tendon which has pulled away from the muscle cannot heal on its own and requires surgery within a week for best results to repair it.
In cases where a part of the severed tendon touches the muscle then there can be some healing that can take place on its own but such instances are rare and in majority of the cases surgery is required for treatment of a severed tendon.


Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:July 24, 2019

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