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Fingertip Injuries - Article
ABSTRACT: The family physician often provides the first and only medical intervention for fingertip injuries. Proper diagnosis and management of fingertip injuries are vital to maintaining proper function of the hand and preventing permanent disability. A subungual hematoma is a painful condition that involves bleeding beneath the nail, usually after trauma. Treatment requires subungual decompression, which is achieved by creating small holes in the nail. A nail bed laceration is treated by removing the nail and suturing the injured nail bed. Closed fractures of the distal phalanx may require reduction but usually are minimally displaced and stable, and can be splinted. Open or intra-articular fractures of the distal phalanx may warrant referral. Patients with mallet finger cannot extend the distal interphalangeal joint because of a disruption of the extensor mechanism. Radiographs help to differentiate between tendinous and bony mallet types. Most mallet finger injuries heal with six to eight weeks of splinting, but some require referral. Flexor digitorum profundus avulsion always requires referral. Dislocations of the distal interphalangeal joint are rare and usually occur dorsally.
ABSTRACT: Fingertip amputations are injuries commonly seen by family physicians. The classification of fingertip injuries corresponds with the normal anatomy of the tip of the digit. There are three zones of injury; the V-Y plasty technique is used to repair zone II injuries. The plane of the injury can be described as dorsal, transverse or volar. The dorsal and transverse planes lend themselves to the use of the V-Y plasty technique. In carefully selected injuries, the family physician can use this technique to repair the injured digit. The use of a single V-Y plasty has replaced the original technique that repaired the digit and restored the contour of the fingertip. Good cosmetic and functional results can be obtained. Complications may include flap sloughing, infection and sensory changes.
ABSTRACT: Family physicians can treat most finger fractures and dislocations, but when necessary, prompt referral to an orthopedic or hand surgeon is important to maximize future function. Examination includes radiography (oblique, anteroposterior, and true lateral views) and physical examination to detect fractures. Dislocation reduction is accomplished with careful traction. If successful, further treatment focuses on the concomitant soft tissue injury. Referral is needed for irreducible dislocations. Distal phalanx fractures are treated conservatively, and middle phalanx fractures can be treated if reduction is stable. Physicians usually can reduce metacarpal bone fractures, even if there is a large degree of angulation. An orthopedic or hand surgeon should treat finger injuries that are unstable or that have rotation. Collateral ligament injuries of the thumb should be examine with radiography before physical examination. Stable joint injuries can be treated with splinting or casting, although an orthopedic or hand surgeon should treat unstable joints.
ABSTRACT: Improper diagnosis and treatment of finger injuries can cause deformity and dysfunction over time. A basic understanding of the complex anatomy of the finger and of common tendon and ligament injury mechanisms can help physicians properly diagnose and treat finger injuries. Evaluation includes a general musculoskeletal examination as well as radiography (oblique, anteroposterior, and true lateral views). Splinting and taping are effective treatments for tendon and ligament injuries. Treatment should restrict the motion of injured structures while allowing uninjured joints to remain mobile. Although family physicians are usually the first to evaluate patients with finger injuries, it is important to recognize when a referral is needed to ensure optimal outcomes.