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 Post subject: Should I take therapy for this stupid finger?
PostPosted: Fri Sep 02, 2016 7:42 am 
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Joined: Fri Apr 04, 2008 12:06 pm
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Location: South Carolina
Background: I fell in the hallway, grabbed for the door frame, missed grabbing it but not hitting it. Result: 'ring' finger of right hand was bent sideways at the large knuckle. I really should have taken a picture, but I just wanted to stop it from looking so weird and fragile, so I snapped it back into place. Tested it, it bent and straightened just fine, and it didn't even hurt... until the swelling started. Now, this is nearly a month down the road, and it's still swollen and tender and feeling bruise-ish. Went to see my PA - she wasn't even sure which finger it was, then thought I'd jammed it (until I described it - really should have taken a picture), sent me for X-rays, that show just some soft tissue swelling.

Question is: should I take therapy for this? Finger won't straighten fully, or bend fully (reminds me of my knee, but that's arthritis) and is still swollen. Since it wasn't broken, and is no longer dislocated, would it be good to get therapy, or would it be a waste of my time (22 minutes each way, borrowing the daughter's car as mine has finally succumbed, finding parking at an overcrowded facility, trundling around a building with as many miles of hallways as a small city, etc.)?

What would therapy do? Since I use my hands a lot (for instance, I'm typing - it was harder when I'd taped the finger to the one next to it, but I've foregone the tape now) wouldn't that get the finger used to what it's supposed to be doing? Would therapy make this faster, or would it not matter at all?

Yes, I'm reluctant to trundle into Columbia for this.

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 Post subject: Re: Should I take therapy for this stupid finger?
PostPosted: Fri Sep 02, 2016 9:20 pm 
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Joined: Fri Apr 04, 2008 12:20 pm
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Location: Tantalizingly close to Colorado
I had skier's thumb (or rather, mountainbiker's thumb in my case) several years ago. After surgery, I wore a splint for 2 or three weeks. Scar tissue develops (from healing, and also from immobolization), and this reduces the range of motion. I went to PT a few times to learn exercises/stretches to help regain the range of motion.

I would definitely recommend PT, but it needn't be a big inconvenience. You might even be able to look up some exercises on the intertubes and start them yourself. It took me a few months to get fully back to normal...don't expect any overnight changes, and don't push yourself too hard. Come to think of it, you should probably go at least once for a consultation. I'm an engineer, dammit. Not a doctor.


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 Post subject: Re: Should I take therapy for this stupid finger?
PostPosted: Fri Sep 02, 2016 9:39 pm 
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Joined: Fri Apr 04, 2008 10:52 am
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Location: California-prev Texas Montreal Virginia
If one considers time and inconvenience etc, every medical encounter has plusses and minuses, even if cost free. If the finger was dislocated ligaments may have been damaged. You might consult with the physical therapist by phone. What is there to do? Active and passive motion? Elevation? Warm water? Too late for a cast or splint? Mostly I guess that you could do the physio yourself.


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 Post subject: Re: Should I take therapy for this stupid finger?
PostPosted: Sat Sep 03, 2016 11:38 pm 
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I dislocated the right pinky finger playing basketball eons ago. Similar to you I simply pulled it back into place, at my then coach's suggestion. From what I understand the risk is doing nerve damage when you put it back into place, otherwise it should heal reasonably fine.

The long term effects (30+) years are a general degree of weakness in the finger as compared to the pinky on my left hand and the ability to move it well outside the normal range of motion, grossing out all sorts of people, so it's not entirely without some redeeming value. Therapy may allow you to strengthen it and may help it heal a little better but outside of some sort of surgical process it will never be what it was before. On the plus side, it was your ring finger, so will gain some greater stability simply by having fingers on either side of it versus my situation. Unlike barisax' situation the range of motion is relatively limited and a whole lot less critical than a thumb. In terms of which finger to dislocate, you chose 'wisely'.

I can tell you I still 'jam' it on occasion and it hurts like the dickens but no therapy will do anything for that. Tape it to one finger on either side for a while so it's supported (oops, you did that) when you don't need to use the finger. Ice it a couple of times a day and if you can bear it, massage the finger pushing the swelling towards your hand. Otherwise I don't think therapy is going to particularly help with the dislocation of a 'relatively minor' finger. It will heal on it's own, potentially a little more slowly.


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 Post subject: Re: Should I take therapy for this stupid finger?
PostPosted: Sun Sep 04, 2016 4:43 am 
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Location: Broomfield, Colorado
As long as it isn't the one you need for gestures...


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 Post subject: Re: Should I take therapy for this stupid finger?
PostPosted: Sun Sep 04, 2016 8:29 am 
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Location: South Carolina
:lol: Nope, not the one I need for gestures, though the injured finger currently won't fold down as well, making gestures a tad confusing.

Gross-out - I appreciate a worthwhile gross-out. :D A definite plus. I remember how grossed out I was, being as I had a broken leg at the time, when some football player's leg was bent backwards, and all they could do on TV was replay it and say things like, 'I didn't know legs could bend that way.'

As for which finger, Fate chose that one, but I agree, it's about the most minor a body could have hoped for.

I'll probably email the PA and get a consultation appointment with the therapist. I really do hate going down there. Any more, I just bypass the regular parking and go straight to overflow, and even there, I have a hard time finding a space. :P

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(BTW, I'm on Facebook, so friend me, already - since it's just us here, the name is Ceridwen Keeley.)


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 Post subject: Re: Should I take therapy for this stupid finger?
PostPosted: Sun Sep 04, 2016 8:03 pm 
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Joined: Fri Apr 04, 2008 11:14 am
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My advice, make an appointment to first see a hand surgeon (an orthopedic surgery specialist, which Columbia should have). Not with the aim of surgery, but to get advice on the benefits of PT and which therapist would be a good fit. And, any other advice that we may be missing here.

I had PT for a broken wrist. PT helps, some, with range of motion. As a commenter above says, a lot of PT is moderate stretching exercises you do on your own -- the actual visit with the PT person is to assign exercises and assess your progress. I had PT for a broken wrist. I had exercises like holding a hammer in an outstretched arm and moving it left and holding, and right and holding, as much as I could comfortably, to improve my rotational motion. I bet there are good exercises online if you search.


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 Post subject: Re: Should I take therapy for this stupid finger?
PostPosted: Tue Sep 06, 2016 9:25 am 
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Joined: Fri Apr 04, 2008 11:22 am
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I fractured my middle finger about 10 years back. I didn't get medical attention, I just splinted it myself. It was months before I had full range of motion. Even 10 years on, it still hurts a little to bend it.


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