Experimental music, photography, and adventures

Fracture update

Friday, July 11th, 2008

I saw an orthopedic surgeon for some follow-up on my broken finger yesterday. Unfortunately since this happened out of town, I had to find a different doctor for follow-up. The doctor was great, so maybe that’s not a bad thing. I learned a lot during this visit. Bad news first.

The Bad

  1. My finger will never work quite right again.
  2. The swelling in my knuckle will probably never go away.
  3. The fracture was much worse than I realized. I either misunderstood what the other doctor said, or he explained it wrong, or he misinterpreted the X-Ray. I thought a small piece of bone chipped off at the joint. But my new doctor showed me that that small piece wasn’t what broke off, it was the only part that didn’t break off. Allow me to illustrate.
    So as you can see, what really happened was the entire top half of my finger broke off. Only a little piece held on, attached by ligament. The doctor said this is quite an unusual fracture and showed it to several other people there so they could see what had happened. I was glad I could keep their jobs interesting.
  4. In the time since the other doctor popped my finger back into joint, it has shifted a little bit. In order to correct it, they would have to re-break it, which would do more harm than good. This means my movement will be restricted permanently. We will get back whatever mobility we can.
  5. The doctor gave me a splint to wear basically all the time to help make it so I can straighten my finger out again. This is making a lot of things very difficult, including typing.

The Good

  1. The other doctor did a great job of popping my finger back into joint.
  2. While it was a serious fracture, it is healing surprisingly well, in part due to #1. The doctor was very optimistic.
  3. The pain I am still feeling is completely normal for an injury like this after only two weeks.
  4. ¬†When I took the splint off to shower this morning, I could already see improvement. My finger was straighter than I’ve been able to get it on my own.
  5. At three weeks the bones will be mostly fused back together and very strong (that’s next week).
  6. The doctor says I can ride my bike, as long as I wear my splint.

Next Steps

  1. I need to wear the splint all the time, except to shower.
  2. I need to do an exercise where I bend the tip of my finger. I need to do this as often as possible.
  3. Next week, the splint comes off and we will start working on bending the finger.

8 Responses to “Fracture update”

  1. furiousball Says:

    oh boy, that’s a good one. take care of that digit amigo. guitar playing might be good exercise

  2. Noah Says:

    Your dry wit never ceases to entertain me. I’m glad to see undertones of humor in this. Hopefully things heal up as well as they can and you can get back to enjoying everything pretty much the way you always have.

    While not exactly the same ordeal, when I got run off the road back in ’06, I didn’t become truly bitter about the motorist until I found out that the trauma to my face caused me two abscessed teeth. Now, I look back at how much money all that medical and dental work has set me back (I’m still paying for some of it!) and I really wish I could have gotten the plates off that truck.

  3. Jennifer Says:

    Ow ow ow ow ow! (to the idea of breaking an entire finger and not knowing it)

    I hope “never work quite right again” doesn’t mean anything drastic. Just “be careful setting volleyballs” or “use only one hand for the rest of your life”? I mean, you just typed that, so it’s not the latter, right?

  4. MRMacrum Says:

    From my experience with busted appengages, the more you use them, the better they work. Don’t baby it. Did the doc mention any type of rehab, exercise or other activities that might help?

  5. Apertome Says:

    Jennifer: No, nothing like that. Just a bit of decrease in range of motion — nothing major, luckily.

    MRMacrum: there is basically one specific exercise I can do for now, and that is to help me bend my other joint in that finger better, and also to help me straighten this finger out. Once the splint comes off, I will practice bending it. But I’m more likely to have trouble straightening that finger, so we are focusing on that first.

  6. Jon Grinder Says:

    I had a similar injury, about 15 years ago, self-inflicted with a 16 oz. framing hammer (yeah, I know). Anyway, it took awhile, but I got most of my range of motion back; enough that I don’t notice it any more. Good luck with yours, and here’s to a speedy recovery!

  7. Marty Says:

    Ouch – sorry to hear it was a bit worse than expected, but glad that you will eventually heal. I’ll have to track down the X-rays of my hand from when I broke it in 4 places. Now the metacarpals in my pinky and ring-finger in my right hand are fused together. Pretty cool, except on cold, rainy mornings (kind of like what we have today!).

  8. John Says:

    We are all healing very nicely it seems. As long as this injury doesn’t affect your communication middle finger, all is not lost.

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