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6 tests to diagnose finger joint injuries

Finger Mobility Tests

A person’s finger has three joints, and normally each of these joints should have a full range of motion, and reaching the extreme points of these ranges should not cause pain. However, joint pain is a common problem, not only among our clients, but also ourselves – massage therapists and manual therapists.

Today I will tell you about a couple of simple tests that will help you make the right diagnosis for a client who comes with complaints of pain in the hands. To get started, try all the tests I have proposed on yourself – this is a great way to feel these movements yourself and understand what strength and pressure should be applied when working with a client. All the tests that I will describe are passive – do not forget to remind the client that he relaxes his hand and allows you to do everything yourself.

Finger joints:

Distal interphalangeal joint

Proximal interphalangeal joint

Metacarpophalangeal joint

1. PASSIVE BENDING OF THE FINGER IN THE DISTAL INTERFALANGER JOINT

1. Place the thumb of your right hand on the tip of the index finger of the left hand of the client, and the pad of the index finger of your right hand on the middle or proximal interphalangeal joint of the index finger of the client.

2. Then gently squeeze the client’s finger with your fingers – the distal joint will take up most of the load. The bending range should be between 80 and 90 degrees, the movement should be painless. Perform this test for all fingers except the thumb. If the mobility of this joint is limited and pain is felt during movement, the test result is positive – your client has problems with this joint.

2. PASSIVE FINGER OPENING IN A DISTAL INTERFALANGER JOINT

1. Place your index finger on the back of the client’s distal interphalangeal joint, and the thumb pad on the tip of the client’s index finger.

2. Then, stabilizing the joint with your index finger, push the joint with your thumb so as to straighten it. The range of this movement should be 10-20 degrees, there should be no pain. The test can be considered positive in the presence of pain or limited mobility.

3. PASSIVE FINGERING OF THE FINGER IN A PROXIMAL INTERFALANGER JOINT

1. Place the pad of your thumb on the distal joint of the client’s finger, and the middle finger on its metacarpophalangeal joint.

2. Then squeeze the fingers together, bending them to create a load on the middle joint of the finger of the client. The full range of motion should be 100 degrees, sometimes 130. If the mobility of this joint is limited and pain is felt during the movement, the test result is positive – your client has problems with this joint.

4. PASSIVE FINGER OPENING IN A PROXIMAL INTERFALANGER JOINT

1. Place your index finger on the back of the proximal interphalangeal joint of the client (ie, the joint located in the middle of the finger).

2. Then place your thumb on the front of the distal interphalangeal joint of the index finger of the client and, stabilizing the proximal interphalangeal joint with the index finger, apply moderate intensity pressure to the distal interphalangeal joint with your thumb – this way you will extend the proximal interphalangeal joint. Usually, this joint practically does not bend – the movement should be almost elusive, but some people may experience increased mobility of the proximal interphalangeal joint. In any case, there should be no pain during this test, and its presence, as well as a noticeable limitation of joint mobility, indicates the presence of certain problems.

5. PASSIVE FINGERING OF THE FINGER IN THE FACCULAR JOINT

1. Place your thumb on the proximal interphalangeal joint of the client, and then carefully bend the metacarpophalangeal joint completely. The finger in this joint should bend at an angle of 90 degrees. Again, the test can be considered positive in the presence of pain and limited mobility.

6. PASSIVE FINGER UNDERSTANDING IN THE MJC AND FALGAN JOINT

1. Place your index finger on the back of the most proximal joint of the client’s finger – metacarpophalangeal.

2. Then place the small pillow of your thumb on the front of the distal interphalangeal joint and, having stabilized the back of the proximal joint with your index finger, press on the finger with your thumb, thereby unbending it. The range of mobility should be 80-90 degrees, there should be no pain. In the presence of pain and limited mobility, the test can be considered positive.

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