Jersey Finger

Topic updated on 12/09/14 2:40pm
  • Refers to an avulsion injury of FDP from insertion at base of distal phalanx
    • a Zone I flexor tendon injury
  • Epidemiology
    • ring finger involved in 75% of cases
      • during grip ring fingertip is 5 mm more prominent than other digits in ~90% of patients
        • therefore ring finger exposed to greater average force than other fingers during pull-away
  • Pathophysiology
    • FDP muscle belly in maximal contraction during forceful DIP extension
  • Muscles
    • Flexor Digitorum Profundus (ulnar n. and AIN n.) 
  • Flexor zones
    • zone I extends from insertion of FDS distally
 Leddy and Packer classification
(based on level of tendon retraction and presence of fracture)
Type I FDP tendon retracted to palm. Leads to disruption of the vascular supply   Prompt surgical treatment within 7 to 10 days   
Type II FDP retracts to level of PIP joint Attempt to repair within several weeks for opitmal outcome  
Type III Large avulsion fracture limits retraction to the level of the DIP joint Attempt to repair within several weeks for opitmal outcome
Type IV Osseous fragment and simultaneous avulsion of the tendon from the fracture fragment  ("Double avulsion” with subsequent retraction of the tendon usually into palm) If tendon separated from fracture fragment, first fix fracture via ORIF then reattach tendon as for Type I/II injuries       

  • Physical exam
    • pain and tenderness over volar distal finger
    • finger lies in slight extension relative to other fingers in resting position   
    • no active flexion of DIP
    • may be able to palpate flexor tendon retracted proximally along flexor sheath
  • Radiograhs
    • may see avulsion fragement 
  • Operative
    • direct tendon repair or tendon reinsertion with dorsal button
      • indications
        •  acute injury (< 3 weeks)
      • technique
        • advancement of > 1 cm carries risk of a DIP flexion contracture or quadrigia 
      • postoperative rehab should include either
        • early patient assisted passive ROM (Duran) or
        • dynamic splint-assisted passive ROM (Kleinert)
    • ORIF fracture fragment
      • indications
        • types III and IV (for type IV then repair as for Type I/II injuries)
      • techniques
        • with K-wire, mini frag screw or pull out wire
        •  examine for symmetric cascade once fixation completed
    • two stage flexor tendon grafting 
      • indications
        • chronic injury (> 3 months) in patient with full PROM of the DIP joint
    • DIP arthrodesis
      • indicated as salvage procedure in chronic injury (> 3 months) with chronic stiffness
  • Quadrigia
    • advancement of > 1 cm carries risk of a DIP flexion contracture or quadrigia


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Qbank (2 Questions)

(OBQ06.52) A 22-year-old rugby player presents with a mass at the base of his ring finger 5 months after sustaining an injury while making a tackle. Physical examination demonstrates a lack of active distal interphalangeal joint flexion, but full passive range of motion of all joints of the ring finger. Radiographs are normal. What is the most appropriate treatment to regain normal finger function? Topic Review Topic

1. excision of the palmar mass and 2-stage tendon grafting
2. excision of the palmar mass and single stage tendon grafting
3. excision of the palmar mass and distal interphalangeal joint fusion
4. active silicone rod implantation
5. flexor digitorum profundis repair

(OBQ05.246) A 16-year-old football player sustains an injury to his ring finger after making a tackle. A clinical photograph is shown in Figure A. What is the most likely diagnosis? Topic Review Topic
FIGURES: A          

1. Flexor digitorum superficialis avulsion
2. Central slip rupture
3. Sagittal band rupture
4. Distal extensor tendon rupture
5. Flexor digitorum profundus avulsion



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