The structure of tendons represents so perfect a combination of strength and elasticity that rupture under normal conditions is practically impossible. When such accidents occur as the result of violent strains, either the muscle tears or the periosteal insertion of the tendon gives way, often carrying with it a fragment of the subjacent bone.
Before a rupture of the tendon itself takes place, it must first have been weakened by disease, the resulting degenerative changes rendering it incapable of bearing the normal strain of muscular action. For example, the long head of the biceps may rupture after the tendon structure has first been weakened by inflammatory changes secondary to an arthritis of the shoulder joint.
The particular accident which is the subject of this paper is an extensor paralysis of the distal phalanx of the thumb from spontaneous rupture of the tendon of the extensor pollicis longus. The affection is
HUNT JR. PARALYSIS OF THE UNGUAL PHALANX OF THE THUMB FROM SPONTANEOUS RUPTURE OF THE EXTENSOR POLLICIS LONGUS: THE SO-CALLED DRUMMER'S PALSY. JAMA. 1915;LXIV(14):1138–1140. doi:10.1001/jama.1915.02570400020007
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