Stiff pinkie and sharp needle-like pain

by Edgar
(Odessa, texas, ector county)

I broke my pinkie at work in june 14 2011, almost 4 months ago, and I had surgery done on it on july 18. I had my pins removed and now waiting on a therapist to help me move it. I cannot bend it, and it feels like needles are poking me, also my ring finger is stiff but it doesn't hurt like my pinkie.the doctor recommended therapy for 3 weeks 3 times a day, but my pinkie doest look like it straighten out at fact it looks the same as when I first went to the er.on xrays it looks like the bone healed straight but it looks crooked and I can't straighten it out, should I be concerned or are 3 weeks of therapy going to fix all this?

Hello Edgar,
How long was the finger in a brace?

The joint cartilage has no blood supply but is supplied with nutrients and oxygen from the fluid that sloshes about in the joint - called synovial fluid.

When immobilised, the synovial fluid isn't refreshed, and quite quickly - within hours - there is a dearth of nutrients in the fluid. The result? "Immobilisation arthritis." Type the term into the Search this site at for more details.

Frankly, I'm not sure if the joint will now come loose. Have you seen the X-rays? Is the joint ankylosed - turned to concrete? Send me a pic of the X-ray if you have one - take a photo with your digi if it's on plain film. Better ask the surgeon.

Meantime, let the physio give you his/her best shot. It's going to hurt, but unless you let them bully you, you'll never get the movement back. In fact bully it yourself. After three months the bone has healed, you're unlikely to break that.

The ring finger was also probably injured in the fall, or, if it was in the brace, then it too has the beginnings of immobilisation arthritis.

Eat plenty of fatty fish like salmon, and perhaps take omega-3 tabs. It might help, lots of research showing that it helps against arthritis.

Like I said, you should address these questions to the surgeon. I'm not sure if there's merit in forcably manipulating the joint under anaesthetic, there might be, but it had better be soon if you're going to do it. Every day it grows more solid as the cartilage atrophies.

I'd love to see the latest xray, and please keep us updated on what happens.

Dr B

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