Physical Therapy for Finger Conditions
A fractured (broken) finger is often the result of trauma, such as that caused by falling on an outstretched hand or slamming a finger in a door. Left untreated, a fractured finger can lead to functional problems, permanent stiffness and pain. Most broken fingers can be successfully treated without surgery, however, a severe finger fracture may require open reduction surgery, which repositions any displaced bones, allowing the finger to function properly once it has healed.
After treatment, a cast or splint is put in place to to hold the finger straight as it heals and ensure that any repositioned (reduced) bones heal correctly. The splint may be left on for approximately 4 to 6 weeks. After healing is complete, physical therapy is prescribed to help restore flexibility to the finger joint.
Rehabilitation for finger injuries is often crucial to help prevent permanent disfigurement and restore proper range of motion. The rehabilitation program includes exercises designed to get the patient's hand and fingers working in ways that are similar to performing regular daily activities. Ball squeezing exercises may be used to improve finger strength and mobility. A physical therapist may suggest finger extension exercises to alleviate stiffness and restore flexibility of the hand and fingers. The patient will also be taught ways to grip and support items with the least amount of stress on the finger joints.
Most patients require two to three months of physical therapy and full recovery may take up to four months.