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Thumb Extensor Tendon (EPL) Rupture

Dr. Vikas Gupta being one of the best hand and shoulder specialists is also equally adept at diagnosing the problems that seem to be troubling the patient. Sharing his introspections about EPL rupture he calmly states, “The damage to the extensor tendon, around the bony prominence at the back of the wrist called Lister’s tubercle, when it extends to the thumb is referred to as EPL rupture. This Extensor Pollicis Longus enables the thumb to extend and move towards the index finger in a kind of hitchhike position and when certain causes such as a fracture in the wrist or presence of rheumatoid arthritis damage this tendon, the thumb fails to extend and perform normal functional movements.

The patient should consult our medical team >>click here for appointment

Presently designated as the head of hand and shoulder department at Max Healthcare, Dr. Gupta is not new to this field. He has a background of more than 25 years of experience and above 18000 surgeries to his credit. Asserting about the rupture he states, “When patients approach us with problems in their thumb we immediately seek to detect if there has been a rupture in the EPL. We ask the patient to place their hand on the table and then observe whether they are able to lift their thumb or not and diagnostically confirm the presence of EPL rupture with help from x-rays of wrist and thumb and ultrasound reports.”

“Here we need to understand clearly that after this tendon has ruptured it is not possible to repair them directly as the ends till then have already frayed. Patients usually bear this problem unaware that their thumb tendon may have ruptured and keep using their thumb and hand. It is only when the problem starts to interfere with the performance of other tendons and interrupts functioning that the patients seek medical advice and repair. We take up the repair of this tendon either by tendon graft or tendon transfer in an outpatient surgery.”

The patient should consult our medical team >>click here for appointment

FAQ – Thumb Extensor Tendon (EPL) Rupture

What is EPL tendon?

The extensor tendon that extends to the thumb is called the EPL i.e. Extensor Pollicis Longus. This long tendon runs on the back of the wrist and around a bony prominence which is referred to as Lister’s Tubercle. Being in a narrow and tight tunnel that confines it, the EPL enables the straightening of the end joint of the thumb and initiates its pulling in the thumb towards the index finger.

What is meant by EPL rupture?
Why does the EPL rupture?
What are the signs of the rupture?
How is it treated?
Is surgery sufficient for recovery?
Are there any risks involved?
When can normal activities be resumed?


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