Kanavel signs of flexor sheath infection: a cautionary tale

Emily Chan (Lead / Corresponding author), Bernard F. Robertson, Simon M. Johnson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Hand infections are a common problem among the population and carry significant morbidity. Deep hand infection such as flexor sheath infections are surgical emergencies and require prompt referral to prevent permanent disability. A misdiagnosis of flexor sheath infection can potentially lead to severe stiffness, deformity, or amputation of the digit.

This article presents an unusual case of a 22-year-old with a chronic intermittent history of swelling and pain to the right middle finger (RMF). Although the history was slightly atypical, examination findings identified the Kanavel cardinal signs of tendon sheath infection (Figure 1).
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)315-316
Number of pages2
JournalBritish Journal of General Practice
Issue number683
Early online date30 May 2019
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Family Practice


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