News and Updates

FLEXOR TENDON RUPTURE

What is It? The flexor tendons of the fingers allow the fingers to bend and grip. When the tendon is no longer attached to the bone at the end of the finger (rupture), it is impossible to bend the fingertip. What is it caused by? The most common cause of a flexor tendon injury is a deep cut to the finger. When cut, the tendon acts like a rubber band, and the ends pull away from one another. When this...
Filed under Injury

ROTATIONAL DEFORMITY

What Is It? Rotational deformity describes abnormal alignment of a finger. When a bone is broken in the hand, X-ray imaging helps to identify where the break is, and determine whether it is in correct alignment. If the bones are in correct alignment, the fingers of the hand will remain in good alignment too. If the bones have shifted position, this causes a shift in the finger’s alignment. What is it caused by? Trauma is the most common cause of...
Filed under Case Study

JOINT DISLOCATION

What is It? Joint dislocation is an injury where a joint is forced out of normal position. It is usually obvious if a finger has been dislocated as the finger will appear crooked, swollen and will be very painful. The finger may be bent at a strange angle and often it is not possible to bend or straighten the finger. What is it caused by? Dislocations can occur in contact sports, such as football and hockey. Those who play ball...

SWAN NECK DEFORMITY

What is It? Swan neck deformity is caused by abnormal stress on the volar plate, the ligament around the middle joint of the finger (PIP joint). The resulting shape of the finger looks similar to a swan's neck, which is how the condition got its name. What is it caused by? For a swan neck deformity to occur, abnormal stress must be put on the ligament around the PIP joint of the finger. The stress causes the ligament to loosen,...

BOUTONNIERE DEFORMITY

What is It? A Boutonnière deformity is also known as a ‘central slip’ injury. This is because it involves injury to the central slip of the extensor tendon of the finger. This means the part of the tendon which straightens the middle joint of the finger has been injured (see figure 1). What is it caused by? A Boutonnière deformity is commonly caused by a forceful blow to the top side of a bent middle joint of a finger. It...
Filed under Hand Therapy \ Injury

MALLET FINGER

What is It? A mallet finger injury occurs when a finger extensor tendon is ruptured near the fingertip (see figure 1). Because the tendon is no longer attached to the bone, the finger droops, and is unable to be straightened voluntarily. What is it caused by? The most common cause of a mallet finger is when the tip of a finger is forcibly flexed or hit against a solid object (e.g. hit by a ball). Less often, the cause is...

Scaphoid Fractures

The scaphoid is one of eight carpal bones in the wrist. It is a commonly fractured bone in the wrist, accounting for over 85% of all sport-related carpal bone fractures. Scaphoid fracture is particularly common in sports involving high impact injuries to the wrist. Young males and persons between 10 and 19 years of age are at highest risk for scaphoid fracture. When an injury occurs, pain (with or without swelling or bruising at the “thumb side” of the wrist) can...
Filed under Hand Therapy \ Injury

Imaging for Diagnosis of Bony Injury in the Wrist

Diagnosing the cause of wrist pain is a challenge for hand therapists, surgeons and radiologists alike because of the small and complex anatomical structures involved within the wrist. There are 29 bones that together make up the hand and wrist. Advances in imaging modalities (e.g. X-rays, CT scanners and MR Imaging) have aided specialists in the diagnosis of a number of hand and wrist conditions including fractures. Current research has focussed on the sensitivity and specificity of the results obtained by...
Filed under Hand Therapy \ Injury

WHAT IS HAND THERAPY?

Hand therapy is the assessment, treatment and rehabilitation of hand and upper limb injuries. Hand therapy evolved from the need for clinicians with the skills, knowledge and experience to manage the challenging recovery of complex hand and upper extremity injuries. In New Zealand, hand therapists achieve a physiotherapy or occupational therapy degree prior to undertaking post graduate study in the hand and upper limb. A hand therapist will have undertaken a four-year degree, a minimum of one year post graduate study,...
Filed under Hand Therapy

INJURY JARGON AND WHAT IT MEANS

Many words in the English language are a part of common, everyday speech. On the other hand, injury jargon is often used by medical providers, sometimes without patients really understanding what words really mean. Below are some common terms used when discussing injury and what they mean, in plain English. TENDON A tendon is an cord of strong fibres located at each end of a muscle that attaches a muscle to bone. LIGAMENT A ligament is a fibrous connective tissue...
Filed under Hand Therapy \ Injury
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