It’s just a finger injury, right? I know what you are thinking- why would you possibly need therapy for such a small, minor injury like a mallet finger?
How can they do therapy anyway if you’re not supposed to move your finger?
I’m sure these questions have been floating around in your head. I have heard these and similar questions time and time again. The thought of seeing a physical therapist or occupational therapist for such a minor injury can seem a bit excessive, or unnecessary. Many people can just buy a splint from Walmart or Amazon and fix their finger themselves. So the, why would you need therapy for a mallet finger?
Here’s the thing, many people that try to fix a mallet finger on their own- fail. Don’t get me wrong, not all of them. But many, have less than optimal outcomes. I know this because they reach out to me months or even years later trying to fix their finger. Unfortunately, by then, it’s too late.
The answer is yes…but you won’t need a lot of therapy.
What if your finger isn't right?
The cheaper, less time consuming version seems more appealing then going to a therapist but hear me out on this. Do I think you need to spend weeks upon weeks going to therapy for a mallet finger? Um- no. Do I think you need to spend months going to a chiropractor? Um- heck no. (Yes, that happens…check out what I think about that here.)
Now, do I think you should go at least once or twice to make sure you are splinted correctly or know how to slowly and safely remove your splint so you don’t start to droop again? A big ol’ heck yeah!
I think it is very beneficial to see an Occupational Therapist (OT) or Physical Therapist (PT) for your mallet finger injury.
I am not saying that just because I am an OT. I am saying this from years of experience seeing thousands of these little injuries. Mallet fingers take a long time to heal so why wouldn’t you want to make sure you are doing everything correctly from the beginning.
In fact, you may not even need to go see a therapist because a telehealth visit can often be sufficient enough.
The key is to make sure you are on the right track from the beginning of your healing. For example, if you aren’t splinted in the correct position right from the start then your finger won’t heal correctly.
Keep in mind, when searching for an OT or PT, make sure they specialize in the hand and arm. They should have the CHT credential, otherwise known as Certified Hand Therapist. This designation refers to a therapist that is highly trained to help you treat your injury correctly. Not all OT’s or PT’s have this.
In fact, only 7,000 of us exist in the world! Another reason, why a video call may be a good option if you don’t have a CHT near you.
If your doctor refers you to a CHT for therapy, more than likely he or she will make you a splint, educate you on your mallet finger injury, as well as many of the key concepts addressed in our Mallet Finger on Demand self treatment program.
A good therapist will teach you what to do.
Your optimal recovery is all in the details. Seeing a therapist either in person or on video can be invaluable. A typical therapy session can include educating you on the different type of mallet finger splints, how to remove your splint without disrupting healing, how to check for skin infections, when and how to slowly begin exercising, and so much more.
Informing you with these details is what therapy is about. It isn’t pushing on your finger. It isn’t massaging it straight (no that doesn’t work). It is making sure you are in the right splint. It is making sure you understand the importance of wearing your splint 24/7, not just at night. It is filling in the gaps when your doctor didn’t.
Doctors can be very busy, often with limited time to answer all your questions. Heck so are therapists. Even if you go to therapy it can be expensive and like I said before you may not have a CHT remotely near you. That is why the Mallet Finger on Demand program was created. To help fill in those gaps.
More often than not, you will only see your doctor or therapist a handful of times over a 12 week period. That is a long time. Leaving you struggling to find answers to the questions that may come up over the next few months of recovery.
Ultimately, your doctor may or may not prescribe you therapy. If they don’t keep in mind you do have a right to request therapy services. If you are unable to attend therapy due to time, cost, accessibility, etc. then the Mallet Finger on Demand program is a great alternative.