OBJECTIVE. This pilot study compared the effectiveness of 3 postoperative rehabilitation protocols for patients with Zones V and VI extensor tendon lacerations.

METHOD. Twenty-seven patients were recruited from 3 sites and randomly assigned to 1 of 3 established treatment protocols: immobilization, early passive motion (EPM), and early active motion (EAM). Outcome measures were collected at 3, 6, and 12 wk after treatment and included total active motion (TAM).

RESULTS. At the end of Week 12, data on 24 injured digits of 18 patients were available for analysis. When data at Weeks 3, 6, and 12 were compared, patients in all groups showed steady improvement in TAM, but digits under the EAM treatment improved to a greater extent over time (F[2, 46] = 75.6, p < .001).

CONCLUSION. Patients with Zones V and VI extensor tendon injuries treated with the EAM protocol recovered range of motion more rapidly.

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