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Boutonniere Deformity

What is Boutonniere Deformity?

Tendons in your fingers connect the muscles in your forearm and hand to the finger bones and help bend and straighten the finger when the muscles contract. Boutonniere deformity is a condition in which a tendon injury to the middle joint of the finger results in the inability to straighten the affected finger. 

Causes of Boutonniere Deformity 

Boutonniere deformity can occur because of forceful trauma to the top of the middle joint, a laceration to the middle joint or from arthritis. 

Symptoms of Boutonniere Deformity 

Symptoms associated with this deformity may appear immediately or after a few weeks and may include swelling, pain and restricted movement. In severe cases, a fragment of the bone may be displaced from its original position. 

Diagnosis of Boutonniere Deformity 

The condition can be diagnosed by a physical examination of the hand, and an X-ray may be ordered to confirm diagnosis. 

Treatment for Boutonniere Deformity 

Boutonniere deformity can be treated both surgically and non-surgically.

Non-surgical treatments include: 

  • Application of a splint to the middle joint of the affected finger to straighten it and allow the tendon to heal
  • Exercises to improve the flexibility and strength of your fingers
  • Protecting your finger by taping it or using protective splints 

Surgery is performed when the injury is caused due to rheumatoid arthritis, the tendon is severed, presence of bone displacement or non-surgical treatments fail to provide relief. 

Surgical treatments may improve the function of the finger but may not always correct the appearance.

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