“A non-smokingmale age 78 in reasonably good health, with no family history of thedisease.

About three years ago I discovered that my right little (pinky) finger wouldn’t straighten in line with the others on that hand – in other words I failed the so-called ‘table test’. Within a year of the discovery, it was sticking out more awkwardly at approximately 45 degrees. Using that hand for the simplest of tasks, like washing and shampooing, became irritatingly difficult, but no pain whatsoever.

I knew, then, nothing of the disease and was content to put up with the inconvenience, until one day earlier this year, whilst squat on a low stool, trimming the base of an ornamental hedge, I toppled backwards, and involuntarily put my right hand out to save me. The affected finger contacted the concrete path first, which caused the entire nail to be ripped out. (ouch, no, double ouch!)

At this stage that finger was at 90 degrees, so I thought it time to seek medical advice.

Several weeks later I found myself in deep conversation with an orthopaedic surgeon at my local hospital who recommended immediate surgery before the finger closed further complicating the issue, so I decided there and then to take his advice and subject myself to the knife, in spite of his rather pessimistic forecast regarding the expectation, not, of a permanent or even a long-term cure for the affliction.

A fewdays later I was on the operating table.

I felt and saw nothing, of course, thanks to the benefit of a general anaesthetic. When I finally came-round several hours later, I saw that my right arm was hanging from a mobile contraption in the ward which resembled a mini gallows!  My entire hand, I could see, was heavily bandaged across the palm; the affected pinky finger (now looking remarkably straight for the first time in three years) was ‘strapped’ to the ring finger (but on the same hand, I am delighted to report!)



Looks horrible, doesn’t it, but a week later it looked like this:



And yesterday like this:



Summing-up 28 days post operation:

The pinky finger is now 98% straight. It can be forced to align with the otherfingers, but when released it returns to the position shown in theabove photograph.

The ‘hard lump'(identified) is numb to the touch. The ‘soft spongy bump’ issimilar, but is painful when pressure is applied.

Remarkably thepinky finger has ‘shrunk’ by approx 10mm. It is also slightlydeformed.

The surroundingarea is very tender. I can form a fist, but the pinky jointsare stiff.

I occasionally getsharp stabbing like (nerve) pains for no apparent reason.

My left hand issimilarly affected with the disease, but to a much lesser amount andon this hand the middle finger only which for the past three yearsremains constant at 15 degrees from the vertical. (I am content toput up with it!)

September 16th

Thewound has healed completely and, so far, the pinky finger shows nosign of curling inwards.



However,the finger is slightly deformed as can be seen in the latestphotograph and it has shortened by approx 10mm. The tip now onlyreaches the top joint of the adjoining ‘ring’ finger.

Thecentre of the palm (in the vicinity of the small, hard lumpidentified in my earlier post) remains VERY tender indeed although, fortunately, I can still grip a golf clubwithout pain (I play golf left-handed, so the right hand is the handwhich grips with whole palm) and continue with archerysatisfactorily.

Makinga tight fist without pain is, at last, possible.

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