After 2 weeks of therapy
At this post I want to offer to you some of my experience and knowledge about what you can expect after you take splint off and after 2 weeks of therapy. Also I will try to list some of useful exercises for finger(s).
First let's go back to stage when I take splint off. At the early stage I was very concern about my 2-month splinting. Alluminium splint cover almost all of my finger (as you can see at the pictures) and when I take off my splint I have a serious problem with my PIP (second joint). It was very stiff and I didn't expect that because mallet finger was at DIP (first joint). My tendon is shorten itself and when I try to touch my palm I can't do that. Also, my finger is triggered (something jumped inside, probably tendon) and I feel a little pain at finger and at the palm (bellow the third joint).
I think that this is result of full finger stabilization and that is suspiciously. I suggest to all that you talk with your doctor about stabilization like that. Now (after I read something) and look at my experience I think that full stabilization is necessary about 2 or 3 weeks and after that you can make stabilization for only DIP joint. For that you can use stax splint or maybe Oval-8.
With alluminium splint your finger will be very stiff and your skin will be very sensitive. Of course that maybe be happen with other splints but little less. Also, your DIP joint (and maybe PIP joint) will be sensitive if you squeeze it with other hand and finger will be swollen at both case (I mean, whatever splint you use).
One big advice: when you take your splint off - try to play a guitar!! Of course, you can't do nothing. When my injury was happen I was at the middle of the Delcamp's D07. When I take my splint off I can't play nothing, even "Frere Jacques"
It is very frustrating indeed. I only can lightly touch E-bass but I can't bend my DIP joint and play anything on the A-bass. Chords are mission impossible. Like I said - it is very frustrating but using guitar day-by-day you can follow your progress on very precise way
Therapy and exercises
You must listen your doctor and do the therapy that he/she suggest to you. I use laser, I drink B-vitamin etc. Also, some of the suggestions are here:
- - whatever exercise you practice don't push to hard. At the very beginning every exercise will be very painful. It is normal! General attitude is when you stretching/bending your finger you must feel the pain and little over that - then stop.
- try to stretch your finger in all directions, not just bend your mallet finger. It is important that you give a power and flexibility to your tendon and your muscle at every way.
- it is important to avoid warm water whenever you can. Do everything at cold water, specially after exercises (or use ice). Also, not at the begging (but after some day of therapy) you can put your finger under the cold water before exercises. The purpose is to stiff your finger and tendon and force it over the exercises!
There is a lot of exercises for your finger but I will also offer to you some of them that I have found very useful. Try to withstand every effort about 5 seconds. Repeat every exercise 10 times.
1. Put your hand with palm on the desk and try to lift up all of your fingers at once.
2. Put your hand with palm on the desk (or better to glass surface) and try to scrabble a surface and gather your finger (to make a fist
3. Touch with tip of the 1st finger tip of your thumb and slide with your 1st finger from the tip to the root of the thumb. Do it with all your fingers.
4. Be an eagle - make a strong claw!
5. Try to make a fist. This is most painful. Help yourself with free fingers.
6. It is incredibly how we lose a power in our finger during wearing a splint. The best way to check this is to use clothespin! When you put it in your finger you will know what to do with it. Great accessories!
After 2 weeks of therapy
Everything is individual. So, I can't (and nobody) can't promise to you what you can be able to do and what can't. But I will give to you some comparisons. After 2 weeks of therapy:
- - My finger is still swollen and in the hospital they told me that it will be for a few months.
- I can touch my palm with finger
- I can gather a fingers to make a fist but my 2th finger is still out of full bending. I can bend it about 45 degree at the DIP.
- Even I can't make a fist, now I can play at single 6,5,4 and 3th string. On second with big effort, on first I can't.
- The skin at the tip of my 2th finger is very sensitive. If I just press the string with finger I feel a little pain. But if I try to slide with 2th finger over the string (example: Villa-Lobos Prelude No.1 - first measure) - it is very painful.
- Only the chords that include 2th finger at E-bass and A-bass is maybe possible (depending of power).
So, as you can see, after 2 weeks of therapy I do some progress. It is so far away of playing CG but is far away of frustrating.
My big advice is: practice whenever you can, practice all of the day!