Tanya Coats Occupational Therapy

Yes we can straighten a bent finger

It’s not uncommon to hurt your finger while playing sport, working or doing daily chores. Sometimes it heals itself and other times you may need medical attention. Perhaps you thought it healed itself but now it’s bent and doesn’t move like it used to?

How to straighten a bent finger

Did you know that the joint in the middle of your finger accounts for 85% of the total motion required to grip an object? An injury to that joint may leave you with a bent finger and have a big impact on everyday life.

It’s good to know that in many cases a bent finger can be healed, even after some time has lapsed after it was injured.

The following are different types of orthosis, or splints that we might use to straighten your finger. 

Our favourite splint designs to straighten a bent finger are:

RMFS (Relative motion flexion splint)

This is an active type of splint which is carefully moulded onto your hand to allow almost full movement. We adjust the positioning of the bent finger to allow your natural muscle strength to have a stronger straightening effect on that finger in day to day use. 

POP (Serial static) 

We use plaster casts to straighten the very resistant or long standing finger contractures. Normally we use the plaster casts for 5 days at a time, treat and repeat. Plaster finger casts are also ideal for swollen or painful fingers as this is a very gentle yet effective method.

Belly gutter (Static progressive)

These are splints for after hours. Normally we suggest wearing them overnight as well. A belly gutter will hold the finger in its maximum straightened position comfortably for hours allowing the soft tissues to extend and lengthen.

Neoprene sleeve (Dynamic)

Neoprene finger sleeves are custom made to fit your finger and these are ideal for people who need to make a strong fist at work as these sleeves allow full function. It also provides a gentle compression which helps with pain and swelling of the finger.

Capener (Dynamic)

These dynamic splints are quite complex and custom made to fit your finger. We create a spring to sit right at the finger joint to actively extend the finger at rest and allow you to make a fist and bend your finger pretty much normally. 

The sky’s the limit in terms of splint designs for hands and fingers. Your hand therapist is the best person to speak with about what is going to work best for you.

Splint or orthotic design will take into account the following factors:

  • Your occupation or recreation – can you even wear a splint during the day?
  • The time that has elapsed since your injury
  • What have you tried before?
  • Is your finger still swollen or painful?
  • What is the underlying problem causing your finger to sit bent?

Article Reference: Melbourne Hand Rehab

If you need help with this, please contact us or book an appointment online.

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