After Care and Therapy
DIP Fusion Finger
DIP joint is the last joint of fingers. It is commonly affected both by osteoarthritis (OA) and rheumatoid arthritis (RA). It leads to swelling and reduced motion in the joint and sometimes deformity. The pain is often not bad and tolerable and well controlled by pain killers. If pain is a problem then the joint can be fused by an operation. This helps the pain and improves function. It is therefore an operation which is done mainly to control pain and sometimes to correct deformity. The operation is done usually under a local anaesthesia as a day case procedure.
You will be discharged home with a bandaged finger and hand. You will need to keep the hand elevated and may require some pain killers for a few days.
0 – 6 Weeks
You first clinic visit will be at 2 weeks, when the bandage will be changed and stitches will be removed. An x-ray will be performed to check for position of fusion. You will be allowed to move finger gently. You may need to be referred for therapy to help reduce swelling and to mobilise other fingers. No pressure should be exerted on the operated finger for 4 weeks. You can then gently start pressing the thumb against the tip of the operated finger.
6 – 12 Weeks
At your next clinic visit (6 weeks) another x-ray will be performed to look for signs of healing. If all seems well then you will be allowed to carry out moderate degrees of activities with this hand. It is usually necessary to carry out another x-ray at 12 weeks to confirm healing. You will then be discharged. With regular use and exercise the hand function will continue to improve in the next 6-12 months.