What is a Swan Neck deformity?
A Swan Neck deformity is a condition where the middle joint of the finger, hyperextends or bends backwards and the end joint near the fingernail, flexes or bends downwards.
How do you get a Swan Neck deformity?
The most common causes of a Swan Neck deformity are Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA), a ligament injury or an untreated Mallet or “Baseball” finger. Swan Neck deformity can also be a problem for people with a connective tissue disease known as Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (EDS).
Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome is a condition where people are born with loose or lax joints. They are often mislabeled as “double jointed”. The laxity allows them to bend their fingers backwards even though there has been no injury. Their fingers may hyperextend so much that it is difficult to bend them.
What can I do about it?
Splinting the finger to stop the hyperextension is often all that is needed and can be a very successful long term solution. In more severe cases, surgery can be done to help realign the tendons and tighten the tissues around the joint.
What kind of splint will help?
There are many finger splints on the market designed to treat Swan Neck deformity. There are metal splints, stainless steel and silver splints available. As the steel splints can be hard to wear and the silver splints can be expensive, a lightweight plastic splint called the Oval-8 Finger Splint may be a great option.
Oval-8 splints are designed to prevent hyperextension but still allow the finger to bend. They come in a broad range of sizes so they will fit almost any hand and are thin enough to be worn on several fingers at the same time if necessary. The wide bands make them comfortable to wear and depending on skin color, they can almost disappear on your finger. Oval-8’s are comfortable, cost effective and can be worn short term or permanently if needed.
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