It means you don't have to constantly be changing dirty banadages, which in turn puts you more at risk of moving the finger. You can wet it and so there is no problem at bath or shower time, because until I began to use this splint I had to wrap a plastic bag over my hand to protect the finger from getting wet. It allows your skin to breathe and so spares you from getting pressure sores.
You have to be careful to choose the exact size because if it is too big for you it may fall off causing you to have to begin your treatment all over again from day one and if it is too tight for you it will cause unnecessary discomfort and swelling. The product itself, at around € 5, is not that expensive but the gadget for finding out your size is, so obviously this is where the company gets its money. You usually need to have to buy two splints - one for when your finger is still swollen from the injury and the second one for when the swelling calms down.
You may have never heard about it before but if you do one day end up suffering from a 'mallet finger' you will sure get to know about it all as although it is not a devastating injury it can be quite a tricky one to cure completely and so I will try and tell you all that I know about it and the best ways of achieving a good recovery.
I myself was one day innocently tucking the sheets (with quite a lot of force I have to add) under the mattress of my bed when I suddenly heard a pop followed by a sharp pain and when I withdrew my finger from under the mattress I was staring at this limp finger that could no longer hold itself up straight on its own unless I helped it up with my good hand. I really didn't know what had happened and so immediately went onto internet to look up 'photos of finger deformities' and got to see quite soon that what I had was called a 'mallet finger' or also known as a 'baseball finger' (due to the fact that baseball players are very prone to suffering this type of injury).
It is basically when you over extend the tendon of your finger so much that it eventually snaps or tears, hence the popping sound, and so of course as it is torn it can no longer hold your finger up straight. I would also compare this injury to when you tear a ligament in your ankle and you have to have it put in plaster for about six weeks so that it can heal.
Well the same treatment applies to a mallet finger in that for at least six weeks you have to keep it completely straight within a finger splint in order that the tendon can have a chance to heal and bond itself together and during those six weeks you must not let the finger drop not even for one second or else you have to start counting six weeks from day one all over again. This is particularly important to remember while you are changing the bandages on your splint.
The most normal splints are foam backed aluminium strips which you either place on the underside of your finger and wrap sticky tape around or they can also be placed on top of the finger which is known as a dorsal splint and most people alternate in order to avoid getting pressure sores on the skin. I myself did all this for about two weeks until I came across, during my explorations on internet, a finger splint called the Oval 8 produced by the firm Three Point Products and I here place a link to the video that explains a bit about it - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ITZYQZdJhUw.
It is so much more comfortable than wearing a foam backed aluminium splint that you can almost get to forget that you are wearing anything. It works on the theory of three pressure points which while keeping your finger absolutely staight doesn't hinder the movement of the other healthy joints. I myself found that it felt as comfortable as if I was wearing a decorative ring and I wish that I had known about them at the beginning of my treatment, but better late than never as they say!
When your treatment time of eight weeks is over you will unfortunately be left with a very stiff finger due to the fact that it hasn't been used in over eight weeks so now you will have to begin doing a few rehabilitation exercises which will consist of bending and extending the finger.
One of the easiest exercises is to wrap your injured hand around a large glass and if the injured finger can't seem to wrap itself round like the others just help it along with your good hand gently putting pressure on it. Each day try and find something slightly smaller to wrap your hand around until eventually you can actually make a tight fist with your hand.
You will then have to practice picking up small objects, putting pressure on your finger as when pushing stiff buttons and also trying to raise it as high as you can above the others. All these movements will help to get the finger to regain all its functions.
If after all this you still don't feel that you finger has straightened out as much as you thought it would then just put on your oval 8 splint for another four or five weeks and it may help to straighten it out a little more.
It has been known that people who have never done anything about their mallet finger injury and just gone on with their normal every day lives have after about a year of having done nothing decided to wear the splint for a period of eight weeks and have achieved an improvement in the level of straightness in their finger so it has to be recognised that this treatment is quite effective. It has also has to be said though that no treatment will be as effective as the one that you start immediately after the injury so in other words the sooner you put on the splint after the injury the better the end result will be.
This product really made my last weeks of treatment far less uncomfortable for me so much so that I decided to leave the splint on for a whole eight weeks just to be on the safe side and when my treatment was over I took it off to find that I had an almost straight finger. I say 'almost' because it is very hard to get a mallet finger to go completely back to how it was before the injury and where the tendon begins to heal and bond it forms some hard tissue which leaves you with a bit of an unsightly bump although the experts say that with time this bump will lesson. I am hopeful to see this happen!!!!
Surgery is hardly ever needed for this type of injury except for when some bone is dragged away with the tendon when it tears but this is something your doctor will have to advise upon.