Vincula, or vincula tendina, are composed of thin bands of a tendon-like material. Most are located in the hands and feet. They are attached to the tendons of nearby muscles as well as the bones and joints, enabling movement. Bands of this tissue are filled with small blood vessels called feeding vessels or vascular channels, which are responsible for supplying the tendons with blood.
There are two types of the small bands of tendon-like tissue found in the hands. Two vincula brevia are located in each finger. The first one connects the tendon attached to the arm muscle flexor digitorum superficialis to the first phalanx, or finger bone, and the first interphalangeal joint. Secondary vincula brevia connect the tendon from the arm muscle called flexor digitorum profundus to the second finger bone and the second interphalangeal joint. The brevia vinculum contains the main vascular channels for blood supply to the tendons in the hand.
The second kind of vinculum located in the hands are the vincula longa. This band of tissue connects the underside of the flexor tendons to the flexor digitorum superficialis arm muscle and the flexor digitorum profundus arm muscle. Vincula longa do not contain as many vascular channels as the brevia vinculum.
Vinculum are also located in the feet and near the shoulder joint. A foot’s vinculum connects the tendons from nearby muscles to the foot’s bones and joints. Transverse vincula in the feet carry the blood supply to the Achilles tendons. Some people have a single band of this tissue that attaches the biceps muscle to the brachia tendon. The bicep vincula has only been identified on less than half of the people undergoing shoulder surgery.
Inflamed vinculum may cause difficulty moving the affected finger, foot, or shoulder joint. A person may not be able to pick up objects, make a fist, or move the fingers without pain. Vinculum injured in the foot can impair the movement of the foot, making walking difficult and painful. An inability to lift the arm or swing it back and forth without pain occurs when vinculum near the shoulder are irritated.
Pain and stiffness can be treated with non- steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Ice packs and resting the affected joint may help relieve the inflammation. If home remedies do not relieve the pain, a doctor may need to treat the inflammation. The doctor may recommend steroid injections to reduce the inflammation of the tissue near the painful joint.