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Bracing the Fingers

Bracing the Fingers

By Taikhum Sadiq

What are the functions of the fingers?

Fingers are one of the smallest limbs of the body and are situated on the end of our hands. They are important for holding, sensing, and feeling something. There are five on each hand. Some do and some don’t consider the thumb as a finger. Opposable thumbs are something that evolution has gifted us. It helps us do things that most animals are not capable of doing. The bones in the fingers are not very strong and are made to be more like sensory parts rather than supporting parts.

What are the problems that affect the fingers?

The most common problem is finger fractures. There are 14 bones in all the fingers combined damage to even one of them can cause improper functioning of the fingers. Usually, a mild jerk or pull on the fingers can result in a sprain of the fingers and a strong one can crack the bones. Mallet finger or baseball finger is problem that affects sports persons. In this, the upper tendon of the finger is hit, and the finger stoops lower than it should and then cannot be brought back to normal on our own. The thumb also can get fractured as it is as weak as the fingers. A broken thumb is worse than a broken finger as it can affect your ability to grasp things. Similar is the case for a sprained thumb.

Trigger finger is a condition which limits the movements of the fingers. In this condition, the finger pops or locks, before it is straightened. Arthritis of the thumb is the inflammation and swelling of the thumb and the joint that connects it. It is the same as the normal arthritis conditions. Boutonnière deformity is a condition where the middle part of the finger gets bent and then takes a lot of time to straighten. If this problem isn’t cured it could lead to permanent deformity and hamper functionality.

Who gets affected?

Fractures and sprains mostly occur due to stress or strain on the finger bones and muscles. Mallet finger usually is a result of a sports injury, for example a ball hitting the finger. Trigger fingers have no definite cause, but affect older people, especially women. Boutonniere deformity can be caused due to arthritis or an injury to the upper part of the finger.

What are the treatment options?

Fractures and sprains can be cured with basic medications, rest, and exercises. Trigger finger is either treated with medications or is treated with surgery if necessary. Boutonniere deformity is usually treated with splints and using special exercises, but if necessary, surgery is also performed.

What are my options?

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Active Innovations Trigger Finger Solution Splint provides a pad over the A-1 pulley to relieve pressure during daily activities without interfering with hand function. It cushions the fat pad at the base of the finger and may completely reverse the trigger finger, making more aggressive treatments unnecessary. It is flexible while wearing, and assists in identifying the cause of the inflammation, which is often handling of certain objects.

Joint Jack Finger Splint helps correct PIP finger flexion contractures. The amount of pressure adjusts quickly with a turn of the screw. Soft steel splint can be bent for final fitting. It includes felt pad and adjustable cotton strap. For size, measure distance from the MCP crease at the base of the finger to the middle of the nail bed. It is latex free.

Rolyan Rigid Thumb Spica Splint immobilizes CMC and MCP of the thumb. It is made of thin polypropylene that can be softened with a heat gun for minor modifications. This is latex free.

Bunnell Mini Modified Safety Pin Splint with Coil to Extend PIP or DIP is latex-free splint which can be used for thumb IP joint. It gets easily adjusted with hook and loop strap and features felt padding. It helps in extending only the PIP or the DIP joints. To know the correct size of the splint for DIP contractures, measure from PIP crease to fingertip and for PIP contractures, measure from MP to PIP crease.