What is it:
Deformity of the finger characterised by inability to straighten the fingertip unless assisted by an external force.
Often due to forced flexion at the furthest joint while the finger is actively extended eg ball hitting the fingertip.
There are two main ways this injury occurs – either the extensor tendon pulls away a small fragment of bone (avulsion fracture) or the extensor tendon itself ruptures.
- Pain, tenderness and swelling on palpation at the distal joint of the finger if an avulsion fracture. Usually relatively painless when tendon ruptures.
- Inability to actively straighten the affected fingertip.
- The creation of a custom thermoplastic splint that will hold fingertip into extension full time for ~6-8 weeks. Can gradually wean out of splint once tendon is strong enough to hold fingertip straight.
- Can usually resume sport with either taping fingertip into extension or wearing splint with tape to strap it on firmly.
- Gradual introduction of exercises to increase movement at the distal finger joint
Good if treated prompt with splinting. Most individuals will regain their full strength and range of motion of their finger.