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Q&A: What can be done for multiple fingertips that will not straighten?

Q: My grandmother has multiple fingertips that will not straighten completely. Though she says she is not experiencing any pain, they look stuck.  Should I take her to the doctor?  What could they do for her?

A: It seems you are describing mallet finger-- a condition where the tendon that helps to straighten your fingertip ruptures.  Typically, treatment is only sought if it becomes an aesthetic issue or interferes with your ability to perform everyday activities.  In your Grandmother's case, it seems that she is not bothered by her fingers. Depending on when the injury occurred, a physician or physical therapist  may prescribe her a special finger splint for anywhere from 6 to 14 weeks.  If this conservative treatment does not give her the results she wants, there are surgical options. Splinting is currently considered the best option.

Reference: Nina Suh, MD, Scott W. Wolfe, MD. Soft Tissue Mallet Finger Injuries With Delayed Treatment. In Journal of Hand Surgery . September, 2013. Vol 38A. Pp. 1803-1805.