Monday, 8 September 2014

Mallet Finger

I wrote yesterday about the injury to my little finger. I wore the splint all night and this morning, but when I took it off the finger was still bent at a right angle at the distal (farthest) joint and I thought the whole finger was swollen.

I tried to crochet, but had to take the splint off as the yarn kept getting caught. I know, what else did I expect? Working without the splint was still problematic due to pain, which is the reason I decided to seek medical attention and actually see a doctor.  I mean, if there was a simple treatment, why not have it treated, especially if it meant I didn’t have to put up with chronic pain.

The doctor knew what it was immediately. “That’s Mallet Finger,” he said.

“What?” I replied.

The official explanation: Mallet Finger is an injury to the extensor digitorum tendon at the distal interphalangeal joint that results in hyperextension of the joint. It usually occurs when a ball, while caught, hits an outstretched finger and jams it. The trauma results in a ruptured or stretched extensor tendon.

“What?” I repeated.

These injuries can be seen in baseball, basketball and volleyball. That sounds better than to say I hurt my finger trying to go to the bathroom while talking on the phone. Read yesterday’s blog for the whole story, with pictures.

Funny, but I can remember having sore fingers when I was in high school and I played basketball and volleyball. My fingers might have been painful and swollen, but still looked normal. My Dad used to call it a stoved joint. I don’t know why.

The difference between then and now, I guess, is that I stretched the tendon before, mobility remained intact, and this time I’ve torn or ruptured it and have lost the ability to straighten that joint. Here’s some old nurse type explanation, flexion is bending fingers into a fist, extension is stretching fingers out straight. So I can still curl that finger in, but I can’t straighten it past the point of injury.

I guess I’m going to have to live with a crooked finger. The treatment is to wear a splint for at least 6 weeks, constantly, to never let that joint bend, with no guarantee that the treatment will work. As the doctor said, if it was a thumb or an index finger it would be worth the effort, but for a pinkie, on my left hand, once the swelling goes down I probably won’t even notice it.

Since I’ll have this “deformity” for the rest of my life, I think I’ll have to come up with a better story for how it happened. The truth is just too bizarre.

No comments: