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What is the treatment for ligament fracture?

Q: I am 34 years old. Three months back I injured a finger of my left hand. The doctor told me that it is a ligament fracture, and wrapped it in a spoon for one month. After one month, the doctor removed the dressing and advised me to exercise it. But still my finger is stiff, and whenever I try to bend it, it starts paining and becomes swollen. Please advise what needs to be done to cure my finger.

A:First of all, you need to clarify whether you have a fracture or a ligament sprain. From your description, I presume you have a ligament injury. Ligament injuries of fingers can be very disabling. In fact, in some patients who do fine work, like artisans and musicians, it can be crippling. They look simple, but invariably lead to stiffness of fingers. These last for a very long time. You need to be patient, but do not give up on these stiff fingers. Some patients may at times take one year to recover. Important thing is to persist with occupational therapy. If despite adequate therapy of exercises, nothing seems to improve, then please get a review opinion. Occasionally, there may be minor incongruencies in the joints as a result of the injury without a fracture. Some of these benefit from surgical intervention, but this must be done only after very careful evaluation by someone regularly doing hand surgeries. Sometimes, bad surgeries can be worse than no surgery. But, at the moment, assuming x rays are normal and assuming it is only a ligament injury, please continue intensive occupational therapy to mobilise your fingers daily.

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