Many treatment methods for intra-articular fractures of the proximal interphalangeal (PIP) joint are described in the literature without a consensus on the most effective…
Many treatment methods for intra-articular fractures of the proximal interphalangeal (PIP) joint are described in the literature without a consensus on the most effective approach. The purpose of this study was to investigate the methods of treatment of PIP joint fractures being used by trauma surgeons in the Republic of Ireland currently and the timing of referral to therapy.
A cross-sectional descriptive study methodology was used to survey trauma surgeons, occupational therapists and physiotherapists in Ireland. An online platform was used. A total of 21 surveys were returned by surgeons and 37 by therapists. Descriptive statistical analysis was used to present the results.
Buddy strapping was reported as the primary treatment method for stable PIP joint fractures. All levels of fracture severity were reported to be treated using traction constructs, which include static and dynamic fixation and orthoses. Unstable fractures were managed using open reduction with internal fixation by 50 per cent of surgeons. Early timing of referral to therapy is reported by more surgeons than therapists. The majority of therapists indicated that they did not have the resources to see patients at the optimal time.
To the authors’ knowledge, this study provides the first description of the management of PIP joint fractures across the Irish health service. The findings of this study suggest that additional therapy resources are required within the health service executive to facilitate the desired early referral to therapy and to enable service development for this category of hand fractures.