Hand Specialists Explain Boutonnière Deformity “Bent Fingers”

If your finger or thumb is bending at the middle joint – and is hard to straighten – you may be suffering from a condition with the less than appealing name of “Boutonnière Deformity”.

Detroit area hand specialist, Dr. Uzma Rehman offers both surgical and nonsurgical treatment options for Boutonniere deformity, depending on the cause of the condition and the severity.

What Is Boutonnière Deformity?

Patients suffering from Boutonnière deformity, have: a finger that is bent at the middle joint (or a thumb is bent at the first joint), and; the finger or thumb is bends backwards at the end joint – and the joint is hard to straighten out.

Causes of Boutonnière Deformity Bent Finger

There are multiple causes of Boutonnière deformity. It can be caused by cut of the tendon on the back of the finger or the thumb – or by tearing or weakening of the tendon due to an injury or from a disease such as rheumatoid arthritis.

Other possible causes of Boutonnière Deformity include: finger fractures or dislocations or osteoarthritis.

The cut, torn or damaged tendon causes the bent position of the joint.  The bent position then results in the small tendons on the side of the finger to slide toward the palm side of the hand – which then worsens the bent position of the finger’s middle joint. This also causes more pull on the end joint of the finger – causing the small joint bend further back.

The change in position of the end joint may not be visible initially – but typically becomes more noticeable over time.

Treating Boutonnière Deformity (Bent Finger)

Boutonnière deformity will generally become worse over time if not treated – and can in stiffness that becomes permanent if the condition is not treated.

Non-Surgical Treatments for Boutonnière Deformity (Bent Finger)

Detroit Area board certified hand specialist Dr. Rehman offers many effective treatments for a Boutonnière deformity.

Splinting can be an effective treatment for Boutonnière Deformity, especially when started soon after the tendon is injured.  But, in cases where the deformity is caused by rheumatoid arthritis, splinting alone may not be sufficient. If your boutonniere deformity is due to rheumatoid arthritis or osteoarthritis, your hand specialist may also prescribe medication in addition to a splint – including corticosteroid injections – to help reduce inflammation and swelling.

The splint works by creating pressure on the affected finger to both straighten and immobilize the finger. If the deformity was caused by an injury such as a cut tendon, the splint can also serve to straighten out the tendon, taking pressure off the tendon as it heals.

A boutonniere deformity can impact the finger’s range of motion and flexibility. Physical therapy and at home exercises can also help treat boutonnière deformity (bent finger).

Dr. Rehman may recommend physical therapy at one of our Detroit area hand specialist offices to improve motion and flexibility. Doing prescribed physical therapy exercises at home may also be recommended by our physical therapists to help strengthen the affected finger, including: raising and lowering the finger at the knuckle; or repeated bending and straightening of the tip of the finger.

Surgical Treatments for Boutonnière Deformity (Bent Finger)

In more severe cases, surgery may be required to straighten the finger and restore the function. Detroit Area hand specialist Dr. Rehman offers multiple different surgical options to treat Boutonnière Deformity.  Surgical intervention is more common in cases that are caused by advanced rheumatoid arthritis or severe injuries.

Surgically treating a boutonniere deformity, may include cutting and releasing tendons, or cutting and sewing together damaged tendons. A piece of tendon from another area can also be used to surgically repair the damaged tendon. Dr. Rehman may also use wire or small screws to straighten the joints

Recovery from surgery for Boutonnière Deformity (Bent Finger) typically takes about 12 weeks. Patients generally have limited use of your affected hand during that period – which improves as the area heals and the tendon is fully repaired.

In the cases of Boutonnière Deformity (Bent Finger) involving a cut tendon, optimal results are generally seen when the tendon is repaired early.  Even with surgery, however, a normal re-positioning of the joints is not guaranteed – making it essential that you seek the help of a board certified hand surgeon like Dr. Rehman who is specialized in this type of surgery.

Bent Finger Hand Specialist – Detroit Area

Your treatment plan for Boutonnière Deformity (Bent Finger) will vary, depending on your unique situation and the underlying cause of your bent finger. Schedule an appointment with Detroit Area hand specialist Dr. Rehman to determine the best treatment options for you.

Bent fingers due to Boutonnière Deformity have a much better prognosis with early detection, awareness, and treatment. If your fingers are bent, contact Detroit area hand specialist Dr. Uzma Rehman today.

Doctor Rehman will assess your individual situation, and prescribe the treatments that are best for your unique condition.

Bent Finger Hand Specialist – Detroit Area: 248.940.5233