My Annual Summer Injury
I spend most summers with my family on Lake Winnipesaukee in New Hampshire. This year, we haven’t spent much time at the “Lake,” but this hasn’t disrupted my pattern of yearly visits to the local hospital in Wolfeboro. There was the summer with the broken neck (a smith machine fell over on me at a gym – long story) and another with a broken toe (kicked a door stop in bare feet). And, last year, I fractured a couple of ribs (fell off my bike). I’ve been there so frequently for broken bones and torn tissue that they take me aside to ask if I’m being abused at home. No kidding. Last year I said, “only psychologically.” They didn’t think that was funny.
So, for this year’s injury I ruptured my extensor tendon on the middle finger of my left hand. The injury is commonly known as Mallet Finger. What the hell is that? That’s what I said too.
The extensor tendon is the tissue that basically holds up the part of your finger closest to the finger’s tip. Without it, there’s nothing to lift that part of the finger.
I did it while cleaning, wiping down a completely flat surface. The tip of my finger rubbed the surface, the finger bent back and I heard an audible (loud, actually) snap. My stomach turns just thinking about it. It grosses me out. After the initial pain, I felt nothing. And, this is from a guy who has the lowest threshold of pain on the planet. When I looked at my finger, though, I saw the picture above. Try as I might, I couldn’t lift the end of my finger. I tried lifting it with my other hand and it moved up and down without difficulty. Strange feeling.
The treatment is for the finger to be kept in this little sling thing for 6+ weeks. The sling holds the tip of the finger straight so that the tendon can heal in the correct position. Obviously, the sling has to be worn 24/7. Pain in the ass. There’s no real pain, but tying shoes, typing and shifting and braking a bicycle are a bit difficult.
Ya know, now that I think about it, I actually hope this is this year’s injury. I hate to think that something worse might come along . . .