Avatar universal

Stiffness in index finger post surgery pins

Hi all.

After lurking for a bit and reading all the posts in this thread, realized it was full of very useful information that I hadn't encountered searching through the internet.

I had a serious accident on 12/5/10 where my middle finger was amputated between the 1st and 2nd joints (above the PIP) and my index finger was fractured (not sure what type of fracture, but it goes horizontally across my finger).

Doctors were unable to save the middle finger, but they sewed up my index finger the night of the 5th (it was pretty much split open). I had surgery the following day and had 2 pins inserted into my index finger. I had those pins in my index finger for 4 weeks (just had them removed on 1/10/11).

I haven't been able to move that index finger for 4 weeks since the pins were still in there, as any movement in that finger caused extreme pain...but now my index finger seems to be stuck in that same position (slightly curved, as if holding a cup). I started OT the Thursday after the pins were removed, but I couldn't do half the tendon gliding exercises as I could not make a fist. I did try to do some blocking exercises (holding a joint in place with the other hand and flexing and extending a particular joint).

But now after my 2nd OT visit yesterday, I'm slightly worried that my finger will never flex or extend fully. MCP is fine, PIP has less than 90% for sure and DIP seems okay. My finger is still extremely swollen at the PIP joint and at the area of the break due to superficial scar tissue and possibly scar tissue near the tendons.

Can anyone please advise their experiences and what the best road to take? I'm currently going to a hand therapist once a week and I'm debating on finding another therapist as well. Thank you all, looking forward to your replies.

4 Responses
700223 tn?1318165694
You really had a horrible injury, with bone and softissue damge.  After an injury like that, surgery, and 4 weeks of immobilzation, it is quite normal to be stiff and swollen.  It is permature to give up after two sessions of OT.  You may be in therapy for a year. At this point, stay the course!
Avatar universal
Thank you for the quick response Dr. Gross. By no means do I intend to give up, I actually find myself constantly trying to move and stretch out the tendons myself. I'm half worried that it maybe too early to do some of these stretches, but I'm eager and willing to try my best to get back to full ROM and hand strength.

Can you please advise what the normal duration is that the finger will remain swollen after such a surgery? (2 pins inserted for 4 weeks) and if it's okay for me to stretch the tendons and finger myself? I'm afraid of tendon adhesion, due to all that scar tissue that is on my finger.

Thanks again, looking forward to all your advice.

Avatar universal
can anyone please advise regarding my index finger still being incredibly swollen and stiff 7 weeks after surgery?

i had 2 pins put into my index finger at the PIP joint. the pins were in for 4 weeks and taken out on 1/10//11 and i've been going to a hand therapist and trying to stretch the finger, but i've still been unable to fully extend the finger or make a fist.

please advise, thanks!

Avatar universal
After a serious accident in late December 2010, I had my thumb and two fingers pinned (luckily no bone or tendon damage but fingers cut wide open).

I too had the pins out after 4 weeks and started OT one week later - it took me 2 weeks after pins to even see some movement and two weeks more I am still swollen but am finally starting small movements - I am advised that this is normal and I am doing well.  I am expecting months of OT, so don't don't depair, be patient and REST, use ICE and exercise but don't do too much.

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