The fingers are composed of three bones called Phalanges (thumb only has two), along with ligaments (connective tissue attaching bones together), and tendons (the anchor of bones to muscles). The "hinges" that bend and straighten the fingers when pulled by muscles in the forearms are referred to as Interphalangeal Joints, or IP joints. Coupled with the volar plates, the IP joints help provide stability to the palm side of the joint, with the collateral ligaments on each side providing side to side stability. It is these ligaments that are a regular location of injuries.
Finger Joint Injuries (FJI) are common due to everyday activities where the fingers and hands are rarely given a break. If left untreated, the damage FJI's can cause to; the bones, ligaments, and/or tendons surrounding these joints, can lead to deformity, as well as creating long lasting effects on hand dexterity, as well as overall function.
There are two primary causes of FJI's, overuse, and trauma. Overuse, which is the same as Repetitive Motion Injuries (see earlier Blog Post), can cause an inflammatory mountain due to the gradual wearing of the supporting structures of the joints, which will almost certainly lead to bone, tendon, and/or ligament damage. Mommy Thumb, or Trigger Finger are some of the more easily accessible examples of Overuse. Trauma, however, can really happen to anyone, with Athletes being the most susceptible (Google a pic of MJ Kobe, or any O/D-Lineman's Fingers). From sprains to dislocations and fractures (see Gamekeeper's Thumb, Boutonniere Finger), trauma is the leading cause of both present, and future, FJI's.
GOOD NEWS! In many cases, a more conservative approach (non-surgical) is all that is needed to resolve Finger Joint Injuries. With the assistance of a doctor or medical professional, an FJI patient can incorporate FingerWeights into their Finger and Hand rehab regimen, allowing the patient to explore measurable results through progressive resistance training which can be tailored specifically to the needs of each individual finger. Unique in that they can also be worn during a patients chosen activity, FingerWeights are the #1 finger rehab device on the market today.
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