Following finger ligament sprains or stable finger fractures it is common practice to buddy strap the injured finger to its uninjured neighbour. In this way, the healthy digit acts as a splint keeping the damaged one in a natural position for healing and encouraging normal movement patterns. Often this technique is used on return to sport, to protect the finger from further injury.
It is important to note that fingers should only be buddy strapped on the advice of a medical professional, after a clear diagnosis has been made. Some finger fractures are potentially unstable and will not heal properly if buddy strapped.
There are different approaches that can be taken to buddy strapping – and the best option is always that which will work best for the patient. See the examples below.
Strapping tape is commonly used on the sports field for return to play. It tends to be tough and durable, staying in place despite sweat/water.
Those with tape allergies cannot tolerate strapping with this method due to blistering and skin rashes.
Skin breakdown/tearing and infection can occur.
Made from a soft, comfortable material these straps are tolerated well by the elderly with frail skin and patients with tape allergies. They are also easily removed.
The material is not as strong or durable as tape and so buddy straps will need regular replacement as they wear with use.
Strong and robust they offer good protection for those with heavy manual jobs or for return to sport.
Only one strap is required to secure the finger
The thermoplastic material is rigid compared to its counterparts. Those with frail skin will be better served with a softer option.