Getting used to life with a splint

Originally, my injury had a white plastic splint on the finger – it was designed to be a temporary splint that wouldn’t let the top joint flop back down to its default, snapped, extensor tendon state.

The Plastics Clinic fitted me with a more permanent split. I was ushered into the Occupational Therapy room and an Occupational Therapist started to mould some heat softened plastic to my finger. Once the plastic had been shaped to the exact contours of my finger it was slid off and one side opened up.  Velcro tightening closures were then glued on and the completed splint slid back onto my finger and was adjusted, by way of the straps, so that it felt comfortable.

Both the basic splint material and the Velcro straps came in a range of colours that the patient could chose: the OT confessed that they often had competitions about the best looking splint. I think the wide range of colours was initially meant to be about making a child’s support more interesting and positive but she told me that most adults went for the more conservative options.

Not this gal – I chose lime green for the actual splint and hot pink for the closures; my therapist was extremely pleased!

finger cast

She then emphasised most strongly that I couldn’t take the splint off, no matter what. The idea is that scar tissue builds up around the abused and inflamed tendon and knits it back together again. However, if you interrupt this process you have to start the whole 8 weeks again (if you are lucky) or just accept that you have lost the movement in that finger.

The splint is very uncomfortable (Velcro straps irritate adjoining fingers) but it is also very hard to keep on. Tonight I tried to wash my hair and I very tightly bound a rubber band over the baggie; somehow water seeped through (in spite of circulation being cut off) and when I took the baggie off, the splint tried to slide off with it.

I think (I hope) I caught it in time but it is going to be a big problem. The shampoo seeped in and made the splint all slidey and it could easily catch on something and slide right off.  It’s the height of summer here and showers are very necessary on a daily minimum. Luckily, hair only gets washed twice a week but even my laziness can’t extend it beyond that time frame.

I have a follow-up appointment next week and will ask if there are any further tips on staying clean whilst adhering to medical protocols. I have an uneasy feeling that I’ve already been told all of them and that my future may be an extremely grubby one.

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