Tuesday, October 21, 2014

P.T. For The M.F.

          Forgive me, I don't mean physical therapy for the mother fu...er. It's for the mallet finger. After having a consultation with the orthopedic specialist, he said that I didn't need surgery even though my middle finger was drooping slightly. He asked me if I needed physical therapy and I said yes, since I felt I needed more guidance with what rehabilitation exercises to do other than just sending me home with Theraputty® like the previous doctor did. 


          So I was given six sessions of physical therapy (three times a week for two weeks). During the first session, the physical therapist asked me about the history of the injury then proceeded test my grip strength
and make measurements of how much angle I could flex and extend the finger to get a baseline. She then told me to show her what types of exercises I had been doing with the Theraputty® and showed her two ways I would squeeze it. She showed me a few more things I could do which included digging into the putty with my fingers and other extension and strengthening exercises. In addition, I was shown exercises I can do with a rubber band and a dumbbell. Afterwards, she held my hand (without even buying me dinner first!), and started torturing me. OK, just kidding, but it sure felt that way initially. What she did was hyperextend the finger ever so slightly to the point of pain indicated by my yelling OWW! She did that a few times until the finger looked slightly straighter. She also did some passive range of motion exercises to the point of resistance which also resulted in some pain. Not that I wasn't expecting any pain at some point. Then she provided me some relief by attaching four electrodes on my fingers - two on top and two on the palm side. She connected the electrodes to a T.E.N.S. unit (transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation) and turned up the power and started electrocuting me. Well not exactly. She turned the knob slightly and asked me to tell her when my fingers started to tingle and when I indicated as much, she stopped. The same was done for the electrodes on the palm side and a timer was set for twenty minutes. Oh I forgot, my hand was also wrapped with a heating pad. The T.E.N.S. treatment was supposed to improve circulation and break up scar tissue. 

          So I sat there and explored the room with my eyes to pass the time, wishing I had picked up a magazine to read from a rack at a corner of the room. Other patients came and went to do their therapies. Pretty soon the timer started beeping and I survived my time on the electric chair or Taser. The electrodes were removed and kept in a plastic bag with my name on it to be reused in the next session.

Lastly, they tried to make strike anywhere matches with my left hand which was dipped about 5 times in a container of lavender colored hot paraffin wax, then it was wrapped in white paper which somehow reminded me of fish and chips, then the papered hand was inserted in a terry cloth fingerless glove to keep the heat in. When the paraffin wax cooled in 5 to 10 minutes, off came the glove, the paper, and the wax had to be peeled off from the hand like a second skin. The lavender scent from the wax remained in my hand for a few hours and people were probably wondering why I was sniffing my hand so much despite the absence of white powder on it. 

          The session went for slightly more than an hour which I thought would last only half as long, although the time passed pretty quickly. Except for the initial measurements, subsequent treatment sessions were similar to the first. In my subjective assessment, after 5 treatments, my finger feels slightly stronger and more flexible, although I have more work to do by myself for further improvement after the 6th and final session.

          Much thanks are in order for the physical therapist and her assistant for guiding me and helping improve the function of my left hand and more specifically my healing middle mallet finger.  For privacy reasons, they declined to allow me to use their names. Even though the finger injury has been a major inconvenience to my daily activities, whenever I went in for physical therapy and was asked what my pain level was from 1 to 10, I always felt no pain. In contrast, the other patients who came in always mentioned some pain.


Desiree Julian said...

Hello Sir, I noticed you were fitted with an Oval 8 splint. I have been combing the internet trying to look this up and tried calling Livestream pero sabi go to Cardinal Santos. Any idea kung san po ako pwede pumunta to get this? I got injured a week ago and have a mallet finger (right hand, ring finger). Thank you!

Noel DLP said...

Hi Desiree, I'm in the U.S. and ordered the Oval 8 splint online in a store here through Amazon.com. I noticed that livestreamrp.tumblr.com has an order form on their website and a sizing guide as well. Here is my post regarding the Oval 8: http://aboutlifeandrunning.blogspot.com/2014/09/left-middle-finger-injury-update-from.html

Desiree Julian said...

Thank you for replying sir. I'll try to check if livestream is still active here.