Boutonniere Deformity

boutonniere deformity

A boutonniere deformity or buttonhole deformity is an injury to a tendon in one of the fingers, resulting in a deformed shape. This usually occurs after an impact to a bent finger. Here we explain the causes, symptoms, and treatments of Boutonniere deformity.

Boutonniere deformity symptoms

  • Symptoms include pain at the time of injury.
  • Tenderness on top of the middle finger bone which is likely to be swollen.
  • The finger cannot be straightened at the middle joint and the end joint cannot be bent.


Boutonniere deformity

A Boutonniere deformity usually occurs after a direct impact to the middle finger bone. The middle finger joint may be forcefully flexed, causing a rupture of the extensor tendon. Less frequently, a cut to the upper surface of the fingertip may sever the attachment point of the tendon to the bone. They are also seen in approximately one-third of people with rheumatoid arthritis.

Treatment of a Boutonniere deformity

If caused by a traumatic injury rest the finger and apply cold therapy to ease bleeding and swelling. Visit a Doctor as soon as possible.

After an examination, the doctor can provide a splint to keep the finger straight. This helps the tendon to heal in the correct position. They may also provide anti-inflammatory medication.



Consultant wrist and hand surgeon Mr. Elliot Sorene explains Boutonniere Deformity.

Surgery is sometimes performed if the tendon is severed or if there is a fracture present. The tendon may be reattached or a fracture pinned and the finger straightened. It is then put in a splint to allow it to heal. Exercises may be given once the splint is removed to increase the strength of the finger extensor muscles.

This article has been written with reference to the bibliography.
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