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Central Slip

Expert hand therapy for relief from central slip.

Central Slip

What is a Central Slip Injury?

A central slip injury refers to damage to the central slip tendon of the finger. This tendon is part of the extensor mechanism of the hand, responsible for straightening the middle joint (proximal interphalangeal joint or PIP joint) of the fingers.

When the central slip is injured, it can lead to a condition known as Boutonniere deformity, characterised by the inability to fully straighten the PIP joint while the distal interphalangeal joint (DIP joint) becomes hyperextended.

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Services

We offer a wide range of hand therapy services to help you overcome any hand, wrist or arm injury. Treatment could include rehabilitation exercises to build strength and support, or a custom made splint or cast to help mend your condition.

Convenient Sydney Locations

We offer a wide range of hand therapy services to help you overcome any hand, wrist or arm injury. Treatment could include rehabilitation exercises to build strength and support, or a custom made splint or cast to help mend your condition.

Specialist Physiotherapists

Looking after your hands is our highest priority. Our Certified Hand Therapist will tailor a treatment plan to your needs and lifestyle. We may need to refer you onto surgical advice or for x-rays or other scans should we need to have a clearer picture of your situation.

Causes of Central Slip Injuries

Central slip injuries often result from:

  • Trauma: Direct impact to the dorsal (back) side of the finger, such as jamming a finger in sports or a fall.
  • Lacerations: Cuts or puncture wounds that sever the central slip tendon.
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis: Chronic inflammation can weaken and rupture the central slip tendon over time.

Symptoms of Central Slip Injuries

The symptoms of a central slip injury can vary depending on the severity, but common indicators include:

  • Pain and swelling at the PIP joint, especially after an injury.
  • Inability to straighten the middle joint of the finger (PIP joint)
  • Boutonniere Deformity

Diagnosis and Initial Treatment

Diagnosis of a central slip injury typically involves a physical examination, assessment of finger function. Sometimes X-rays may be required to rule out any suspected fractures. 

Initial treatment involves:

  • Immobilisation: Splinting the PIP joint in extension to allow the central slip tendon to heal. 6 weeks of full time splinting is required for the tendon to heal
  • Swelling control: compression bandage may be required to reduce swelling

The Role of Hand Therapy in Central Slip Injury Recovery

Hand therapy is crucial in the rehabilitation of central slip injuries. Hand therapists, including occupational therapists and physical therapists with specialized training, use various techniques to ensure optimal recovery and restore hand function. Here’s how hand therapy can help:

  1. Splinting Management: Hand therapists design and fabricate custom splints that keep the PIP joint in extension while allowing movement of the other joints. This precise positioning is crucial for tendon healing. Regular follow-ups to adjust the splint and ensure proper fit and function, preventing complications such as stiffness or skin irritation.
  2. Range of Motion Exercises: It’s important to keep moving all joints and fingers that are not affected by the injury to prevent stiffness and reduce swelling. As tendon healing progresses, active exercises are introduced to promote tendon gliding and joint mobility while protecting the injured tendon.
  3. Strengthening Exercises: Once the tendon has healed sufficiently, strengthening exercises become a focus. Hand therapists design a progressive strengthening program tailored to the patient’s specific needs and recovery stage, starting with isometric exercises and gradually increasing resistance.
  4. Swelling Management: Swelling is common after a central slip injury and can impede recovery and finger movement. Hand Therapists can provide compression garments or bandages that reduce swelling.
  5. Scar Management: For central slip injuries requiring surgery to repair the torn tendon, scar management is essential to restoring range of movement and function. This includes techniques such as scar massage to prevent tendon adhesions and use of silicone gel sheet to improve appearance of scars.

If you need expert treatment for a central slip injury, get in touch with one of our Sydney hand therapy clinics today.

The Hand Physio Clinic 

The Hand Physio Clinic 

The Hand Physio Clinic 

The Hand Physio Clinic 

The Hand Physio Clinic 

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