Volar Plate Injury
The volar plate is a thick cartilage / ligament like structure that helps connect two bones in a finger. The volar plate lies on the palmar side of each finger joint and stabilises the finger at this joint. The most common volar plate joint injury involves the middle knuckle of your finger (the proximal interphalangeal joint, or PIPJ).
The volar plate is commonly injured when the finger is forced into an over-extended position. This style of volar plate injury is commonly referred to as a ‘finger strain’ and is often treated incorrectly. Volar plate injuries can differ in severity, including tearing of the volar plate resulting in finger dislocation at the PIP joint. This injury can be common in contact and ball sports, or following a mechanism of injury such as jamming or catching fingers in a backwards pulling motion.
How Can Our Hand Therapists Help?
A hand therapist will clinically assess your finger injury and provide recommendations for treatment relevant to your presentation. Commonly, injury to the PIP joint results in lingering pain and swelling if left without intervention. A hand therapist can provide customised splinting options to protect and support the finger in the correct position during healing.
Our hand therapists will develop a guided return to finger movement, function and strengthening. We can also assist strategies to prevent chances of re-injury, such as taping techniques, and to reduce the impact of ongoing symptoms.
The PIP joint is a hinge joint that allows for finger range from 0 degrees extension (straightening) to 100-110 degrees of flexion(bending) in most individuals (Pattni et al., 2016). The volar plate acts as the ‘doorstop’ over this joint to prevent hyper-extension.
Pattni, A., Jones, M., & Gujral, S. (2016). Volar plate avulsion injury. ePlasty: Open Access Journal of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, 16.
Solutions to Try
While these are general examples, our hand therapists will help match solutions best suited to your condition and specific needs.