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#249942 - 20/02/2005 13:42 Medical advice sought. Sprained finger?
tfabris
carpal tunnel

Registered: 20/12/1999
Posts: 31286
Loc: Seattle, WA
I believe I fscked up royally.

Last Friday, I fell while snowboarding, and landed upon the fingers of my left hand, which got hyper-extended severely. And I've got a con in less than two weeks, the whole point of which is to perform songs on the guitar. Yes, this is exactly what I was afraid would happen. Sigh.

Mostly the problem is with my left middle finger, although the left index finger is a bit swollen as well. There is swelling, discoloration, limited mobility, and of course pain if the finger is moved far from the position you see it in the photo.

I don't know if this is a sprain or what. If it's not a sprain, what could it be?

I've heard lots of contradicting opinions as to how to care for it:

- Ice it regularly for many days.
- Don't ice it at all.
- Alternate heat and ice.
- Exercise it.
- Don't exercise it.
- Immobilize it.
- Take antihistamines to reduce swelling.
- Take advil to reduce swelling.
- See a doctor.
- Don't bother to see a doctor because they can't do much for it.

Can anyone render an opinion on how to care for it that's backed up by reasoning and medical explanations for those reasons? (As opposed to the equivalent of "My mom always put ice on my sprains and I turned out fine.")

My goal is to be able to play the guitar again in approximately ten days. In other words, I want it to heal as fast as possible. My fear is that attempting to do anything other than hold it still will lengthen the healing time.

So... anyone?


Attachments
249297-finner.jpg (1210 downloads)

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Tony Fabris

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#249943 - 20/02/2005 14:32 Re: Medical advice sought. Sprained finger? [Re: tfabris]
Phil.
pooh-bah

Registered: 14/01/2002
Posts: 2481
I think you go to a doctor to get proper advice

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#249944 - 20/02/2005 14:58 Re: Medical advice sought. Sprained finger? [Re: Phil.]
pgrzelak
carpal tunnel

Registered: 15/08/2000
Posts: 4859
Loc: New Jersey, USA
Agreed. See a doctor as soon as possible. Not that it is something lethal or anything, but you do want to perform in a short period of time. Beyond that, I would say anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs) - your typical stuff there. But a doctor would be able to give you far better advice given your timeline, and may also recommend something a bit stronger and localized (cortizone shot).
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Paul Grzelak
200GB with 48MB RAM, Illuminated Buttons and Digital Outputs

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#249945 - 20/02/2005 15:08 Re: Medical advice sought. Sprained finger? [Re: tfabris]
Heather
addict

Registered: 14/01/2002
Posts: 509
Loc: NY
According to my sibling, it looks and sounds broken. Go get an xray.
_________________________
Heather

"I distrust those people who know so well what God wants them to do because I notice it always coincides with their own desires." -Susan B Anthony

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#249946 - 20/02/2005 15:21 Re: Medical advice sought. Sprained finger? [Re: Heather]
tfabris
carpal tunnel

Registered: 20/12/1999
Posts: 31286
Loc: Seattle, WA
Now that I actually look at its range of motion, there is pain only when I move it more than about 60 degrees. So I'm thinking it's not as serious as a break.
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Tony Fabris

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#249947 - 20/02/2005 15:31 Re: Medical advice sought. Sprained finger? [Re: tfabris]
Heather
addict

Registered: 14/01/2002
Posts: 509
Loc: NY
Believe it or not, sprains are often worse and more painful than breaks. Just go get a damn xray already
_________________________
Heather

"I distrust those people who know so well what God wants them to do because I notice it always coincides with their own desires." -Susan B Anthony

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#249948 - 20/02/2005 16:19 Re: Medical advice sought. Sprained finger? [Re: Heather]
msaeger
carpal tunnel

Registered: 23/09/2000
Posts: 3608
Loc: Minnetonka, MN
I fell and hurt my foot a while ago. I figured it was just bruised or sprained because it didn't hurt too bad but after a week I went to a doctor to get an xray and it turned out to be broken. The stupid part was they couldn't do anything about it anyway.
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Matt

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#249949 - 20/02/2005 16:40 Re: Medical advice sought. Sprained finger? [Re: msaeger]
RobotCaleb
pooh-bah

Registered: 15/01/2002
Posts: 1866
Loc: Austin
i hurt my arm quite badly one time. i did go to the doctor and they said nothing was wrong with me. when it still hurt quite badly 2 weeks later, i went back. 'oh yeah, this is broken. why didnt you come in earlier?'
sweet

my sister also had a broken arm. not only did they say it wasnt broken, when she went back the second time they 'discovered' that the wrong arm, which was perfectly fine, was broken!

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#249950 - 20/02/2005 21:25 Re: Medical advice sought. Sprained finger? [Re: tfabris]
schofiel
carpal tunnel

Registered: 25/06/1999
Posts: 2992
Loc: Wareham, Dorset, UK
Well, icing reduces swelling. Swelling caused by fluid incursion causes tissue damage and scar tissue, plus it takes time to heal. Ice for a maximum of 5 minutes but do not allow the tissues to become chilled through - the idea is to cool, not to freeze (even worse). Repeat only a couple of times per hour, and for only a few hours in the days after the injury. Don't heat, or alternate. Heat will promote swelling through fluid flow, the exact opposite of what you want.

I can thoroughly recommend a TENS apparatus for rapid healing of sprains, I have the OMRON E3 unit which you should be able to hire or buy at relatively low cost. It has helped me get past a muscle tear about 14 days before a race, and while I didn't perform at my peak, I could in fact run and didn't cause any further damage. Highly recommended as the wonder solution.
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One of the few remaining Mk1 owners... #00015

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#249951 - 20/02/2005 21:26 Re: Medical advice sought. Sprained finger? [Re: tfabris]
SE_Sport_Driver
carpal tunnel

Registered: 05/01/2001
Posts: 4903
Loc: Detroit, MI USA
Drink lots of milk.
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Brad B.

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#249952 - 21/02/2005 02:18 Re: Medical advice sought. Sprained finger? [Re: tfabris]
mlord
carpal tunnel

Registered: 29/08/2000
Posts: 14077
Loc: Canada
Absolutely ice it, and take some ibuprofen.

The theory being that it is swollen, and wants to swell up even more. This swelling causes blood vessels to burst, causing even more swelling, and lengthing the time to heal.

Icing it reduces the swelling, and thus the collatoral damage. Ibuprofen also reduces swelling, but has certain risks (read the label, please).

Find a nice doc and/or sports medicine clinic and get them to check it out further.

Cheers


Edited by mlord (21/02/2005 02:19)

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#249953 - 21/02/2005 02:31 Re: Medical advice sought. Sprained finger? [Re: tfabris]
canuckInOR
carpal tunnel

Registered: 13/02/2002
Posts: 3162
Loc: Portland, OR
What everyone else said. See a doctor -- they can't do much for it, but they can tell you the extent of the injury, and, if necessary, give you a recommendation to a physiotherapist. I agree with Heather (or, rather, her sister by proxy of Heather) -- it looks broken, when I compare it to when I broke a knuckle falling off a bridge when biking (it was only a 1 foot drop, but it was into a front-wheel slurping bog). If not broken, it may have been dislocated, as well.

My advice? Forget about the concert. Unless you string your guitar backwards, I highly doubt you'll be forming chords with that hand in 10 days.

Speedy healing... keep us posted.

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#249954 - 21/02/2005 02:39 Re: Medical advice sought. Sprained finger? [Re: Heather]
canuckInOR
carpal tunnel

Registered: 13/02/2002
Posts: 3162
Loc: Portland, OR
Quote:
Believe it or not, sprains are often worse and more painful than breaks.

For those that don't believe it, I can back that up with personal experience -- bones heal in 6 weeks. Soft tissue damage may never heal properly. I still get the once-in-a-while twinges in my shoulder from when I separated it about 6 years ago. I'm still having issues with an ankle sprain from 8 months ago. The thumb I dislocated 3 years ago can still ache. But my broken knuckle and broken arm never gave me another spot of trouble after healing.

(I've learned most of my anatomy by visiting the emergency room -- I recommend a text book. )

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#249955 - 22/02/2005 00:51 Re: Medical advice sought. Sprained finger? [Re: tfabris]
tanstaafl.
carpal tunnel

Registered: 08/07/1999
Posts: 5402
Loc: Ajijic, Mexico
Heather said: Just go get a damn xray already

Ummm... yeah. What she said.

I had a slow-speed mountain bike... upset, I guess. It doesn't really deserve to be called a crash. I tweaked the forefinger of my left hand, and being a very tough, macho guy insisted that it didn't need any attention, since there was minimal blood and no broken shards of bone poking through rendered flesh.

Big mistake.

Nearly two years later, I now have about 60% of the strength of that finger available to me, and am happy to have that as it is a big improvement over the 30-40% I had for the first year or so.

It is still slowly getting better, but had I gotten proper attention to it in the first place the results would have been much better.

tanstaafl.
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"There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch"

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#249956 - 22/02/2005 03:21 Re: Medical advice sought. Sprained finger? [Re: tanstaafl.]
tfabris
carpal tunnel

Registered: 20/12/1999
Posts: 31286
Loc: Seattle, WA
Well, my GP was closed on President's Day, but I'm hoping I can get through to them tomorrow for an appointment.
_________________________
Tony Fabris

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#249957 - 23/02/2005 09:16 Re: Medical advice sought. Sprained finger? [Re: tfabris]
pgrzelak
carpal tunnel

Registered: 15/08/2000
Posts: 4859
Loc: New Jersey, USA
...and...?
_________________________
Paul Grzelak
200GB with 48MB RAM, Illuminated Buttons and Digital Outputs

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#249958 - 23/02/2005 15:18 Re: Medical advice sought. Sprained finger? [Re: pgrzelak]
tfabris
carpal tunnel

Registered: 20/12/1999
Posts: 31286
Loc: Seattle, WA
I won't get the xray results back until Friday (to find out if I chipped any of the joints), but the doctor is optimistic I'll be able to play by the 4th.

She wants me to keep the affected joints immobile (no exercising them or trying to play) for several days. Typing with splints is interesting.

In the meantime, she has me taking double doses of Aleve as an anti-inflammatory. She also says that heat promotes blood flow which promotes healing, as long as I'm also keeping the swelling down to prevent tissue damage. Hence the "alternating heat and ice" recommendation.

The fingers are still swollen, and I still can't curl them very far. I'm just crossing my fingers that they'll be OK in a week. Um, so to speak.
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Tony Fabris

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#249959 - 24/02/2005 05:01 Re: Medical advice sought. Sprained finger? [Re: tfabris]
canuckInOR
carpal tunnel

Registered: 13/02/2002
Posts: 3162
Loc: Portland, OR
Quote:
I won't get the xray results back until Friday (to find out if I chipped any of the joints),

Good grief. Friday? I've *never* had xray results take longer than 20 minutes from the time they're taken.

Quote:
but the doctor is optimistic I'll be able to play by the 4th.

That's good news, but I'll caution you about that -- I once had a doctor tell me that a sprained wrist would be okay in a couple of weeks. Never went back to that guy, and no, the wrist wasn't okay in a couple of weeks.

Speedy healing...

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#249960 - 24/02/2005 14:17 Re: Medical advice sought. Sprained finger? [Re: canuckInOR]
wfaulk
carpal tunnel

Registered: 25/12/2000
Posts: 16706
Loc: Raleigh, NC US
Quote:
Quote:
I won't get the xray results back until Friday (to find out if I chipped any of the joints),

Good grief. Friday? I've *never* had xray results take longer than 20 minutes from the time they're taken.

Yeah, Tony. Go to your dentist. They'll get that X-ray back to you fast.
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Bitt Faulk

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#249961 - 24/02/2005 14:24 Re: Medical advice sought. Sprained finger? [Re: wfaulk]
schofiel
carpal tunnel

Registered: 25/06/1999
Posts: 2992
Loc: Wareham, Dorset, UK
... and charge you for teaching you how to use dental picks, as well
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One of the few remaining Mk1 owners... #00015

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#249962 - 24/02/2005 14:43 Re: Medical advice sought. Sprained finger? [Re: tfabris]
Tim
veteran

Registered: 25/04/2000
Posts: 1487
Loc: Arizona
Quote:
In the meantime, she has me taking double doses of Aleve as an anti-inflammatory.


Be extremely careful with Aleve, double doses sound like a really bad idea. The label is serious when it says do not exceed more than 3 caplets in a 24 hour period. Some of the more fun side effects include kidney problems and stomach bleeding. Make sure you take them with some food also, otherwise you really increase the probability of stomach bleeding.

- Tim

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#249963 - 24/02/2005 14:43 Re: Medical advice sought. Sprained finger? [Re: Heather]
Tim
veteran

Registered: 25/04/2000
Posts: 1487
Loc: Arizona
Quote:
Just go get a damn xray already


Mom, is that you?

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