Part 1: Series- Finger Joint Injuries and Extensor Tendon Ruptures/Sprains

The initial steps of management in finger injuries is highly important. Commonly the severity of injuries is ignored, decreasing the best outcomes of healing. Instead we should treat every ache and pain like a potential injury and learn to evaluate them for signs that we need help from our health care partner. This article focuses on the discussion of common tendon and ligament injuries of the finger and our self-care protocol for such.

It is common for visual signs of deformity to follow an injury to a finger joint or tendon. Long term swelling or abnormal size increases are common signs that an injury is present. Decreasing motion with splinting immediately is a common protocol for treating those injuries to help them to heal as best they can. But which ones do we splint and which ones do we keep moving while they heal?

The Basics of Anatomy: Finger joints and tendons.

Joint stability is provided for each joint of the finger by a dense interwoven connective tissue called the volar plate. Held with ligaments into this plate, each joint of the finger becomes stable unless used outside of its design.

On the top of each finger, a thick fibrous band runs out to the first joint of each finger, or the PIP (proximal interphalangeal joint) to extend it. The joint closest to the fingertip, the DIP (distal interphalangeal joint) is extended straight by two lateral bands on the back sides of each finger. Together, these extensor bands open each finger independently in a multitude of angles.