What's the Big Deal, It's Just a Finger...Right?!?!
Finger injuries frequently occur while playing sports or doing weekend projects around the home. Often, people will experience an immediate increase in pain, swelling, and stiffness in the finger. They assume they have just "sprained it" and continue on with their daily routine not wanting to complain about a "finger". As time moves on, they start to experience an increase in stiffness. Swelling persists in the finger and they notice joint changes. Eventually, they get to a point where motion becomes very limited (usually at the middle knuckle). It is finally at that time that people seek medical advice. If the patient sees one of the doctors at MMI, they will refer them to hand therapy.
In hand therapy, the patient will be educated in the anatomy of the finger and they will realize the delicate balance between flexor and extensor tendons, how ligaments that are compromised can contribute to joint deformity, and how persistent swelling impacts joint function. A patient will learn how the anatomy of a finger is not a simple structure! Of course, hand therapy will provide more than an anatomy lesson. You could expect the following if you arrive in hand therapy for treatment:
- Evaluation /measurements of the degrees of motion your finger is moving (or not moving).
- Instruction in edema (swelling) management techniques.
- Pain management, tools such as heat or ultra sound to improve soft tissue mobility.
- Instruction in how to safely improve motion of the involved finger.
- A patient may benefit from custom splinting, provided by an MMI Certified Hand Therapist, to improve joint mobility. This may even include serial casting ( a series of splints/casts to straighten the finger).
The most important thing to learn is that you should not wait if you have a finger injury to receive medical attention. The earlier you are treated, the better the result. If you wait to get assessed you could risk permanent joint changes in your finger, which could impact your ability to perform your activities of daily living. The dedicated team of Certified Hand Therapists at MMI will be glad to assist you should you ever experience a finger injury.