Hammer finger deformity is mentioned when the fingers are bent downwards at the extreme joints of the fingers and cannot be straightened upwards after simple bumps, sudden and severe strains while the fingers are standing straight. This is caused by the separation of the tendon (extensor tendon), which lifts the most extreme joint of the finger, from the attachment site. The tendon can sometimes be separated from the bone attachment on its own, and sometimes it breaks off by separating a bone piece from the attachment. The finger remains bent downwards because the force that bends the end joint down (flexor tendon) is not balanced. There is swelling and severe tenderness at the attachment site of the tendon. The tip joint of the finger cannot be lifted up and kept perfectly straight, even if desired. Severe pain occurs when this movement is attempted.
Clinical examination is often sufficient for the diagnosis of hammer toe. However, examination may be required to determine how much the tendon has retracted after separation, to determine whether there is a bone fragment and to determine its size, if any, and to evaluate joint compatibility. Plain radiographs, ultrasonography and magnetic resonance examination are among the examinations that can be used.
Controlled movements can be started after eight weeks of treatment with simple hammer finger splints, other finger splints or simple plaster fixations in newly formed injuries only when the tendon ruptures or a very large piece of the tendon does not break off from the attachment site and does not disrupt the joint harmony.
The swelling on the upper part of the tip of the finger can usually stay longer (3-4) months. After more than two weeks, the same treatments can be tried, but this time the treatment duration is longer.
In newly formed injuries, the joint can be corrected with the help of wires, the broken part can be brought closer to its place and fixed until healing occurs. In cases where this technique is not suitable, the tendon and bone fragment, if any, can be placed in their original places with the help of small incisions and attached with methods such as sutures, screws, suture anchors, in accordance with the situation.
If hammer toe is not treated appropriately, it may cause bending of the fingertip joint in the short term, as well as cause deformity and dysfunction in other joints of the finger due to the progression of tendon imbalances.
For this reason, if the end joint of any of your fingers is low after a strain or impact, if you cannot straighten this joint or if there is severe pain while trying to fix it, it is very important to be examined by an orthopedic and traumatology specialist in order to prevent permanent loss of function or complex treatment procedures due to late diagnosis.