Monday, September 22, 2014

Left Middle Finger Injury Update - From Stax to Oval 8

From this makeshift splint

the Stax splint,
and now
the OVAL 8 splint

          The 8 week period for me to wear the splint on my left middle finger passed 2 weeks ago, and I was looking forward for the doctor to tell me it was okay to remove it and begin rehabilitating the finger. After 8 weeks of wearing the Stax splint as recommended for mallet finger injuries, the finger had become very stiff and swollen and I've been having a difficult time restoring the range of motion due to scar tissue that formed around the joints. Not only that, but the other fingers also got stiff because with the splint, I couldn't close my fist. I was given a week trial without the splint and was instructed to do active range of motion exercises and try strengthening my grip with Theraputty. When I returned to the doctor a week later, he didn't like the way the finger looked so he ordered the Stax splint put back on and also got authorization for an orthopedic specialist consultation. Unfortunately it would take another 3 weeks before the orthopedist can see me. Since I can't make a fist with my left hand and have a hard time grasping, at work, I am not able to assist my co-workers in case we have to restrain a patient.

          I've been searching for other kinds of splints and found the Oval 8 splint, but I've been holding off buying it myself hoping that 8 weeks on the Stax was enough to heal the torn tendon of the DIP (distal interphalangeal joint)or the knuckle near the nail. The advantage of the Oval 8 is that it's more open and less restrictive so that I could try bending the PIP (proximal interphalangeal joint) or the middle knuckle of the finger. When I learned that it would take more time to see the orthopedist, I finally measured my finger and ordered a set of 3 Oval 8 splints from Since it was not supplied by the doctor, I had to pay for them myself. The set came in 3 different sizes and was recommended that way so in case my finger became swollen, I could switch to a bigger size or if the swelling went down, the finger would fit better in a smaller size. The Oval 8 also didn't require Coban tape to be used so I was able to wash my hands better. With the new splint, I could start to aggressively restore the range of motion to the PIP while the DIP remained immobilized and kept straight to hopefully continue to strengthen the healing tendon. I find that the joint is tight when I wake up in the morning, gets looser when I exercise it, then becomes more swollen in the evening thus more stiff. Meanwhile, I hope the orthopedist has better news when I see him in a couple of weeks.