An abnormal flexing of the end of the finger along with an abnormal extension of the middle finger joint is known as a Swan Neck deformity. The condition is normally caused by a tearing or weakness of one of the ligaments on the palmar side of the finger. Swan Neck deformities can occur following an injury or with rheumatoid arthritis.
Causes of a Swan Neck Deformity
In patients with a Swan Neck deformity, the tendons slide toward the back of the finger whenever the middle joint is extended. This causes the middle joint to become hyperextended, which makes it harder for the tendons controlling the end joint of the finger to straighten.
Symptoms of a Swan Neck Deformity
A Swan Neck deformity makes it difficult to bend the middle joint of the finger. Patients often complain of a snapping sensation when trying to bend the finger. Over time, the affected finger can become increasingly stiff.
Non-Invasive and Surgical Treatments
Treatment depends on the cause and severity of the deformity. Non-invasive treatments include placing a special ring over the affected joint to prevent the snapping and to hold the finger in the proper position. Surgical options include joint replacement or fusion or repositioning of the tendons. Patients with a Swan Neck deformity should consult with one of LA Hand Surgeon’s board-certified plastic hand surgeons to discuss their treatment options.