It may seem like a small thing, but dealing with a stiff finger after injury can be a frustrating and sometimes a debilitating issue. We obviously need our hands to function normally throughout our daily activities and limitations into the hand or finger’s range of motion can significantly affect our daily tasks and sports activities.
Stiffness in the finger is fairly common after injury because of the potential for the finger joints (especially the middle joint) to develop a contracture in the joint capsule from swelling and immobility, and possibly from other complications as well. An old theory still seen used in some clinics is to stretch as much as barely tolerated to improve the motion as quickly as possible. This can actually build up the inflammation in this small area and further contribute to loss of motion. The current research and our experience in the clinic has shown us that low load long duration stretching helps achieve the most range of motion gains in a stiff joint.
Low load long duration stretching places the joint at a much more comfortable position approaching the stiff end-range and keeping it there for a designated amount of time. Usually 30 minutes or more. Our hand therapist can construct appropriate splints for whichever motion you are limited in and guide you in the progression to restore your motion much more comfortably with much better results.
Please don’t let this small injury wait as it becomes more difficult to work out in the future. Give us a call to set up your appointment, and be sure to ask for our Certified Hand Therapist, Dr. Stott for your initial consultation to determine if splinting will be needed in your treatment plan.
Read more research below:
- Static Progressive Orthoses for the Upper Extremity: A Comprehensive Literature Review
- Effects of serial casting in the treatment of flexion contractures of proximal interphalangeal joints in patients with rheumatoid arthritis and juvenile idiopathic arthritis: A retrospective study
- Treatment of proximal interphalangeal joint flexion contracture: combined static and dynamic orthotic intervention compared with other therapy intervention: a randomized controlled trial