Kanavel's cardinal signs

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Kanavel's sign is a clinical sign found in patients with infection of a flexor tendon sheath in the hand (flexor tenosynovitis), a serious condition which can cause rapid loss of function of the affected finger.[1]

The sign consists of four components:[2]

  1. the affected finger is held in slight flexion.
  2. there is uniform swelling over the affected tendon.
  3. there is tenderness over the affected tendon.
  4. there is pain on passive extension of the affected finger.

The sign is named after Allen B. Kanavel.


  1. ^ "Medscape". Retrieved 8 November 2014. 
  2. ^ "Wheeless Online". Retrieved 8 November 2014.