Comparing treatment for finger fractures
Dr Lisa O’Brien and colleagues conducted a multicentre prospective cohort study to compare swing traction versus no-traction management of complex fractures of proximal inter-phalangeal (PIP) finger joints.
Adults from three public hospitals and one private clinic with a history of complex PIP fractures affecting ≥30% of articular surface injury were invited to participate.
X-rays taken at the time of injury were graded by two blinded assessors, and participants attended a clinic for measurement of range of motion and self-reported function, pain and satisfaction at least one year post injury.
The primary outcome was combined motion of the PIP and distal inter-phalangeal joints. Patients treated with the swing traction protocol (n = 17) had greater range of motion in the finger compared with the group receiving no traction (n = 14); however, swing traction treatment did not translate to improved patient ratings of function, pain or satisfaction.
A basic cost comparison indicated that swing traction may be less expensive than other forms of surgical repair.
O’Brien LJ, Simm AT, Loh IWH, Griffiths KM. Swing traction versus no-traction for complex intra-articular proximal interphalangeal fractures. J Hand Ther 2014;27(4):309-16