Finger ligament injury, will it get better on its own if I just apply a compress at home? [인터뷰]

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Fingers are usually one of the most easily injured areas. However, there are many patients who simply massage the injured area and do not visit the hospital. would it be okay though?

Hidak Orthopedic Consulting Doctor Im Kyung-rin (LS Orthopedic Surgery Clinic)“There are quite a few patients who neglected their finger ligament injuries when they were young, but as they get older, they can’t move their fingers well,” he said. And when he injured his finger ligaments, he emphasized that he should visit the hospital for treatment. The following is a Q&A about finger ligament injury, delivered by Dr. Im Kyung-Rin.

Q1. What is the role of finger ligaments in our body?

Finger ligaments hold the finger bones in place. That way, you can move your fingers stably, and the power of your arm muscles is smoothly transmitted to your fingertips. For example, if you press the mouse with your hand, the finger ligaments must firmly hold the finger bones so that the strength of the arm muscles is transmitted to the fingertips well. If you injure a ligament in your finger and the ligament is stretched, your finger bones will vibrate whenever you move your hand. The muscle power is then dispersed, and the pain makes it difficult to properly force the hand. As a result, muscle power is not transmitted properly and it becomes difficult to perform tasks that require the use of hands. In short, if your finger ligaments are injured, you cannot use your hand or arm properly.

Q2. Is there a reason why the ring finger ligament is more easily injured than other finger ligaments?

This is because, unlike other fingers, most of the ring finger is in an unstable situation. It is thanks to the tendons in our arm muscles that we can bend and extend our fingers. And the various muscles in the palm also help to move the hand with precision. This allows the thumb, index finger, middle finger, and little finger to move independently of each other and do not collide or collide with each other.

Finger bones, joints, tendons, and muscles are closely and precisely connected. However, there is one flaw in this structure, and that is the ‘ring finger’. The ring finger (4 fingers) is connected to the middle finger (3 fingers) and the little finger (5 fingers) and tendons. So it is very difficult to move the ring finger independently. For example, if you try to straighten your ring finger with your middle finger bent, your finger will not move freely. Also, when clenching a fist or grasping an object, the ring and pinky fingers slide into the palm of the hand.

In most situations where the hand is used like this, the joint supporting the ring finger is mostly twisted or exposed to instability. As a result, the ring finger is weaker to external shocks than other fingers. As a result, the ligaments of the ring finger are injured much more often than the ligaments of the other fingers.

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Q3. In what situations do finger ligaments usually get injured?

There are many different situations that can injure your finger ligaments. First, if you are injured while exercising. They are often injured while playing sports with relatively heavy or hard balls. Basketball, volleyball and baseball are examples of these sports. You can also injure the ligaments of your fingers while doing sports that put a lot of weight on your hands, such as boxing or rock climbing.

Then there is the case of getting injured while working. When operating a fast-moving machine, the joints of the fingers are often misaligned and the ligaments are often injured. So, if you play an instrument or work in a job that requires you to move your fingers all day, you should avoid doing sports or dangerous tasks that can injure your finger ligaments. This is because a person who has a job that uses his hands with precision may inevitably have to change jobs if his finger ligament is injured. The famous German composer Robert Alexander Schumann also injured his finger and prematurely stopped his pianist activities. It is said that he had a hard life all the time, probably because he had to give up his favorite job due to an unexpected injury.

Q4. What is the difference between a finger bone fracture and a ligament injury?

In general, finger bone fractures are more severe in swelling and pain than ligament injuries. When the ligament of the finger is injured, it hurts as if the finger is falling out, and the area around the joint joint swells. If the injury is severe, you may feel the joint shaking when you touch the injured area with the opposite hand.

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Due to these differences, there are many patients who do not visit the hospital even if the finger ligaments are injured. Even if the pain is severe at the time of the injury, the pain will go away if you do not move for a while. However, if you have a fractured finger bone, most of you visit the hospital right away when symptoms appear, so you don’t miss the right time for treatment. However, when a small bone fragment is fractured, the symptoms are similar to those of a ligament injury. Therefore, patients with these injuries often miss the appropriate treatment time.

Q5. When do you have to go to the hospital for treatment?

First, let me explain what a really serious condition is. If the painful finger suddenly swells or bruises, it may indicate a ligament rupture or fracture of the finger bones. If you do not receive treatment at the hospital right away, you will not be able to use your fingers for a while, and you may develop finger disorders. In particular, if the joint of the finger shakes when you touch the injured area with the opposite hand, you should go to the hospital immediately.

However, the most desirable situation is to visit the hospital immediately when the finger ligament is injured. This is because, if you decide whether to visit the hospital based on symptoms alone, you may miss the appropriate treatment time. Then, if your finger ligament injury worsens, you may be unable to use your hand normally. Therefore, once you receive an accurate diagnosis of your condition from a specialist, you need to be informed about the treatment and rehabilitation process.

Q6. How is the treatment and rehabilitation process for finger ligament injuries?

If the finger ligaments are injured, rehabilitation is performed after the injured area is fixed with plaster. It is a necessary procedure for the regeneration of ligaments, and the optimal treatment period is 2-4 weeks. However, the injury may be so severe that the bone has been severely broken, or the ligament may have been completely removed from the bone, as if a power cord had been pulled out. In this case, surgery to connect the ligaments is required. Even if you have surgery, it will not lengthen the rehabilitation period or change the contents of the rehabilitation treatment.

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There are a few things to keep in mind when receiving plaster treatment. That is, the appropriate treatment period must be adhered to. Immobilizing the injured area with plaster for too long can stiffen the joints of the fingers. This means that your knuckles may become stiff and you may not be able to move as much as you normally would. So, if the finger is immobilized, the appropriate treatment period should not be exceeded.

The period of immobilization of the finger is sufficient for two weeks to one month. However, finger rehabilitation takes much longer than this. It takes almost six months for the injured area to fully heal. If the treatment is received too late and the ligaments are not properly attached, it takes longer to recover and the treatment results are not good.

Q7. Finger ligament injury, how to prevent it?

Finger ligaments, once injured, take a long time to recover. What’s more, a disability that prevents the joint from straightening may remain. So, it is important to be careful not to injure your fingers.

First of all, you should avoid situations where you are likely to injure your fingers. Exercises that involve heavy, hard balls, such as basketball or baseball, should be avoided. This is because if you do this kind of exercise, you may accidentally break your finger or injure yourself by a shock. In particular, those who do delicate work with their hands should be more careful.

Also, when doing hobbies, you should be careful about activities that use tools that can injure your hands. However, if you must use your hands, it is recommended to wear gloves or protective gear when the work is absolutely necessary, and to stretch your hand and shoulder muscles before exercising or working.

Help = Hidak Consulting Doctor Im Kyung-rin (Orthopedic Surgeon at LS Orthopedic Surgery Clinic)

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