We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is a Tenotomy?

By Carey Reeve
Updated May 17, 2024
Our promise to you
WiseGeek is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At WiseGeek, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

A tenotomy is a type of surgery that involves cutting a tendon that is too tight to allow for greater range of motion or proper position of a part of the body. This surgery is generally only performed after other less invasive treatments have failed to give the desired result. Tenotomy is used in many different situations such as in cases of strabismus, hammer toe, and cerebral palsy. Tendons that are too short for comfortable movement may be present at birth, but many conditions can cause tendons and muscles to shorten. The way the surgery is performed varies depending on the specific tendon being lengthened, but aftercare and physical therapy follow roughly the same course.

When a skeletal muscle is kept in a strongly contracted position for a long period of time, the muscle can shorten and lead the related tendon to shorten as well. This may eventually encourage fibrous tissue to grow among the muscle fibers and make it hard for the muscle to stretch; this is called contracture. In many cases, other treatments such as medication, casts, splints, and stretching exercises are used to attempt to correct the contracture before tenotomy is recommended. The tendon may be cut all the way through or only through a portion of its width; sometimes a tendon is divided lengthwise and connected end to end to add length.

Strabismus, i.e., lazy eye, may be present at birth but may also develop later in life. It involves a short tendon on one side of the eye pulling the eye out of alignment; tenotomy is one of many possible surgeries to correct strabismus. Hammer toe is due to a shortening of the tendon on the underside of the toe that causes it to stay in a curled position. Patients with cerebral palsy often have a symptom called spasticity which leads to contracted muscles and requires tenotomy in extreme cases. Damage in the upper arm and shoulder area due to strain, overuse, traumatic injury, or deterioration can lead to problems like long head biceps tendinopathy or slap tears that may require tenotomy.

Many tenotomy surgeries now are performed by arthroscopy, but those that include dividing the tendon and reconnecting it end to end must be open surgeries. After a tenotomy to correct limb contracture, the limb is stretched into a normal position and put in a cast to hold it in place while the tendon reattaches or regrows. Rigorous physical therapy is recommended after the cast comes off to keep the muscle and tendon strong and flexible.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.