Swan-neck deformity is a condition where the finger(s) in the hand become bent in an abnormal position resembling the shape of a swan's neck. In this deformity, the middle finger joint (proximal interphalangeal joint) hyperextends or bends backwards, while the outermost joint (distal interphalangeal joint) flexes or bends downwards. This results in a finger that appears bent at the middle joint and hyperextended at the outermost joint.
Swan-neck deformity can be caused by a variety of factors, including:
Rheumatoid arthritis: This is the most common cause of swan-neck deformity, which occurs due to inflammation of the joints in the hand and wrist.
Ligament injuries: Injuries to the ligaments in the hand and wrist can also cause swan-neck deformity.
Tendinitis: Inflammation of the tendons in the hand and wrist can also lead to swan-neck deformity.
Trauma: Trauma to the hand, such as a fracture or dislocation, can cause damage to the joints and ligaments, resulting in swan-neck deformity.
Congenital disorders: In rare cases, swan-neck deformity may be present at birth due to certain congenital disorders.
Symptoms of swan-neck deformity may include pain, stiffness, and difficulty using the affected finger(s). Treatment for swan-neck deformity may involve wearing a splint or brace to immobilize the affected finger, performing exercises to improve range of motion, and in some cases, surgery to correct the underlying problem.
The treatment for swan-neck deformity depends on the underlying cause of the condition and the severity of the deformity. Treatment options may include:
Splinting or bracing: Wearing a splint or brace can help to immobilize the affected finger and prevent further damage. The splint or brace may need to be worn for several weeks or months.
Exercises: Specific exercises can help to improve the range of motion in the affected finger and prevent stiffness. A physical therapist can recommend exercises that are appropriate for the individual's condition.
Medications: Over-the-counter pain relievers, such as acetaminophen or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), can help to reduce pain and inflammation associated with swan-neck deformity.
Injections: Corticosteroid injections may be recommended to reduce inflammation in the affected joint and relieve pain.