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Boutonniere Deformity: Muscle, Joint Disorder | Causes and Treatment

What is Boutonniere Deformity ?

A boutonniere deformity occurs when you have an injury to the tendons, which are responsible for straightening the fingers' middle joint. This can happen to anyone who has damaged the tendons of the fingers. In rare cases, deformity can occur in your toes.

Here is a simple guide to Boutonniere deformity, its causes, and treatments.

What are the Causes of Boutonniere Deformity?

There are several causes of Boutonniere Deformity. At the same time, an injury to your hand's central slip extensor tendon is a common cause of the deformity. The tendon often has a slit; if it is not corrected, the deformation can last longer and become permanent.

Another cause of it is arthritis. Arthritis affects joints and bones and can cause severe restrictions on movement. This can also result in Boutonniere deformity if not treated on time. In rare cases, it can also result from a congenital disability. It is always advisable to consult a doctor to find out the root cause of it, which will help in planning a treatment process.

What are the Symptoms of Boutonniere Deformity?

It is essential to understand how your fingers function, and figuring out symptoms will help identify some of them, which can aid in addressing them as soon as possible. Here are some of them.

If it is an injury, the symptoms will show up within a few hours, where the fingers will be bent, and movement will be minimal. Another symptom is pain and swelling in the joints of your fingers, which restrict movement. Different types of Boutonniere Deformity include boutonniere deformity of a finger, thumbs, and more. 

How to Diagnose Boutonniere Deformity?

The symptoms are a good sign to look at the diagnosis for it. If there is limited movement, stiffness in your finger joints, or if there is no movement to straighten your fingers, they could mean deformity. 

It is best to visit a doctor, who will run scans and tests to check if there is any injury to the tendon and joints, which may result in Boutonniere deformity. An Elson’s Test may be conducted on your finger to ascertain the damage. Simple flexing exercises by the doctor, such as asking you to bend your fingers and pressing on the joint, can help establish the cause for it and diagnosis.

Treatment for Boutonniere Deformity

Treating it early by a medical professional can help regain movement to a full extent. Some of the common treatments are as follows.

Nonsurgical options such as splints and crepe bandages are used to straighten the joints, allowing the tendons to heal without any severance due to movements. This is usually done for about 3 to 6 weeks based on the medical history and age of the individual. Medication for arthritis and inflammation reducers can also be used to treat the deformity, along with boutonniere deformity splints.

Surgical intervention may be needed if there is severe damage to the tendons and joints. This will be performed by a medical professional after evaluating the need and process for the same. Surgery may be performed if there is damage to bone fragments or if there is no recovery after using splints.

Physiotherapy Treatment for Boutonniere Deformity

Physiotherapy to treat Boutonniere deformity will depend on factors such as your medical history, the intensity of the injury, and other factors. Once a full test is done, a physiotherapist may chart a plan.

It can involve the basic stretching exercises of the finger, palm, and hands. Besides these, strengthening exercises such as squeeze balls can be introduced based on the recovery and recommendations of the physiotherapist.

Cautionary Advice

It is essential to see a professional as early as you can, as the deformity, if prolonged, can result in severe interruption of movement. It can also be a sign of arthritis - which needs to be addressed as early as you see the symptoms, as it can result in severe joint pains across the body. It is also important to get X-rays and scans done to prevent further damage to the tendons. Care and patience are essential while dealing with Boutonniere's deformity.

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