It was February when I last blogged about the healing process of my broken finger. Being by nature an optimistic person, I continued to count my blessings of the tiny improvements until May, which was a whole year since the accident. Then I went away in June with nine good friends and not being able to join in with preparing meals, etc led me to face how much I still could not do!
My friends encouraged me to go back to my doctor, who quickly noticed a very large difference in the strength of my left hand compared with the right, that I was still experiencing a lot of pain, and that I have some unusual bumps on my palm. So a further visit to the orthopaedic specialist at The Whittington was arranged for July, and proved to be very informative and useful.
I'd been forewarned that surgery may be needed - and it seems this is very likely at some point in the future because the bumps are in fact the early signs of Dupuyten's contracture, which is hereditary in my family. Apparently, I need to keep an eye my ability to place my hand completely flat on a table, and when this begins to be impossible, to go back to the consultant for treatment. So, separate from the finger break, and a coincidence that the bumps have appeared just now!
Back to the broken finger damage: the consultant explained to me that numerous tests have shown that the engagement of the little finger is essential in order to have full hand strength. He tested my hands again, and found that although my left little finger could bend fully, I was unable to make it do so. The treatment would be more physiotherapy, this time to work on my finger strength.
I learnt from the hand physio specialist that the exercises I was given to do daily just after the splint was removed are intended to enable me to retain the ability to fully straighten my finger, and to that end have worked. The knitting and The Cowling System exercises for musicians (I also play guitar) have helped me to keep my dexterity.
So, now an additional set of daily exercises has been added to the remedial mix to rebuild the strength in my finger. Before starting on this stage of treatment, the hand physio used a machine to measure the strength of my hands, and discovered that my left hand was only at 50% strength compared with my right hand! It was very heartening to learn that my left hand strength had improved when my hands were retested on the same machine at a follow up appointment three weeks later. I'd already noticed a significant improvement in what I can do in normal daily life - simple things like the ironing. So, once again, I am feeling very grateful to the fabulous NHS for excellent and speedy treatment.
To celebrate the improvement in my hand, I challenged myself to making two projects during the Ravellenic Games on ravelry, which were timed to coincide with the Olympic Games. Here they are:
Another orange woolly hat for St Mungos , for their Woolly Hat Day to highlight the shockingly high numbers of the homeless; plus these very gorgeous robin mittens as a treat for me:
using a lovely pattern designed by Tiny Owl Knits ! I am pleased to report that I did complete both projects and was duly awarded my Ravellenic medals for doing so.