What is Hyperextension Injury of the Finger?
A hyperextension injury of the finger is a condition where any of the finger joint moves beyond its normal range of motion i.e. it hyperextends.(3) The cause of this condition can include: playing racket sports and a heavy fall on an outstretched arm.(3) Symptoms of hyperextension injury of the finger include; pain, tingling and difficulty in moving the injured finger. Treatment of hyperextension injury of the finger consists of splinting the finger, ice compresses and physiotherapy.(1)
What are the Causes of Hyperextension Injury of the Finger?
The tip of the finger (mallet finger) or the knuckle joint (MCP) is the common places where hyperextension of the finger commonly occurs.(3) The reason this occurs is, when catching a fast moving ball; therefore, this injury can be often seen in goalkeepers, cricketers and basketball players. Hyperextension injury of the finger can also be caused by falling heavily on an outstretched hand.(3)
What are the Symptoms of Hyperextension Injury of the Finger?
Sudden, acute pain will be experienced if you have a hyperextension injury of the finger. Along with the pain, there also is difficulty in moving the finger, which has the hyperextension injury; this could be due to injury to other structures and also because of the acute pain.(2,3) There can also be break in the skin or a lump seen, which indicates fractured bone.(3) Swelling can also be seen in the region of hyperextension injury of the finger.(2) If there has been damage to the blood vessels, then there can also be seen signs of bruising and bleeding after the hyperextension injury of the finger. Other symptoms of hyperextension injury of the finger consist of: tingling sensation, stiffness, decreased range of finger movement and spasm.(3)
What is the Treatment for Hyperextension Injury of the Finger?
Hyperextension injury of the finger can be treated at home conservatively; however, it also vital that you visit your nearest emergency room to get an X-ray to look for any finger fracture. The doctor will examine your finger to assess the degree of the injury and advise you on the best treatment for hyperextension injury of the finger.(3)
Splinting of the finger can be advised, so that it can effectively heal.(1,3) Other than this, physiotherapy is important to start even if the finger is in the splint, so as to avoid stiffness and ensure proper finger movement after healing.(1,3) Apart from this, other muscles and joints should be kept mobile.
Physiotherapy Treatment for Hyperextension Injury of the Finger
After the diagnosis of hyperextension injury of the finger and the treatment plan is decided, patient should start physiotherapy.(1, 3) The physiotherapist will splint your finger for around 8 weeks. Splinting of the injured finger is done to prevent further damage to the region. If there is any swelling, then ice and compression can be done for that.(3)
Electrotherapy techniques can also be done to boost healing hyperextension injury of the finger and these techniques include ultrasound therapy.(3) Strengthening and stretching exercises should also be done so that your finger can return back to normal functioning as soon as possible. Other treatment options for hyperextension injury of the finger include: manipulation / mobilization; wax therapy; taping and soft tissue treatment.(3)
What to Avoid When Suffering from Hyperextension Injury of the Finger?
Avoid moving your finger, which has suffered the hyperextension injury.(3)
Avoid delaying in seeking medical help.(3)
Avoid any activity that will caused increased blood flow to the injured area, such as hot showers, massage etc. Alcohol also increases the blood flow; therefore avoid alcohol for the initial 48 hours after the hyperextension injury of the finger.(3)
What are the Complications if the Hyperextension Injury of the Finger is not Treated?
If the hyperextension injury of the finger is not treated, then there is a huge risk for long term complications, such as contractures and stiffness of the injured finger.(1, 3)
If structures, such as ligaments and nerves are damaged, then it will take a longer time for recovery. Physiotherapy helps in boosting the recovery process and healing time; and will also help the patient return to a normal and active life as soon as possible.