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Sports Medicine

Torn ligaments in left pinky finger.

01/20/2010

Question:

I am a college football player and I dislocated my finger at practice one day. I saw the doctor and he said i wouldnt need surgery. Its been about 6 months since this happened and I still cannot fully straighten or bend my figer. I was wondering if surgery would still be effective on allowing me bend and extend my finger? I am not looking for full movement, just enough to where I can grab somewhat normally again.

Answer:

If your joint dislocation was satisfactorily "reduced" (put back into place), and if your injured joint was initially splinted to allow healing to occur, and if you've undergone repeat X-rays to be sure there's no bony fragment blocking your joint motion, and if your joint range of motion is actually improving (although this always occurs more slowly than we'd like!), it could be that your persistently limited motion is due to the several months often necessary for recovery to occur after a finger joint injury.

If you've not had any hand therapy, discuss this option with your doctor, along with asking your doctor's opinion regarding whether your recovery is on track or occurring slower than is typical. If your recovery is occurring slower than expected, or has halted, also ask your doctor what's the likelihood surgery would help, although unless there's persisting joint laxity (looseness) which could benefit from surgery to tighten injured ligaments, or a loose bony fragment which would need to be removed, it's unlikely surgery will be recommended.

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Response by:

Brian L Bowyer, MD Brian L Bowyer, MD
Clinical Associate Professor
Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University