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Home » Anatomy » Boutonniere Deformity: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

Boutonniere Deformity: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

Boutonniere deformity is a condition that affects the finger joints, causing them to bend in an unusual way. This condition can impact a person’s ability to use their hand effectively and can be a result of various causes. In this article, we’ll delve into the details of Boutonniere deformity, including its causes, symptoms, and available treatment options.

Causes of Boutonniere Deformity

Boutonniere deformity is primarily caused by an injury to the tendons and ligaments that help control the movement of our fingers. Here are some common causes:

  1. Trauma: Injuries, such as a direct blow to the finger or jamming it, can damage the finger’s delicate structures.
  2. Rheumatoid Arthritis: This autoimmune disease can lead to joint inflammation, which, over time, may result in Boutonniere deformity.
  3. Tendon Injuries: Tendons can become torn or damaged, disrupting the normal functioning of the finger joints.

Symptoms of Boutonniere Deformity

Recognizing the symptoms of Boutonniere deformity is essential for early intervention. Common signs include:

  1. Bent Finger: The affected finger’s middle joint bends downward, while the end joint hyperextends, giving it a characteristic appearance.
  2. Pain and Swelling: Inflammation and discomfort in the affected finger are common, particularly after using it.
  3. Limited Mobility: Reduced ability to fully straighten or bend the finger.

Diagnosis and Medical Evaluation

If you suspect Boutonniere deformity, seek medical evaluation. A healthcare professional, such as an orthopedic surgeon or a hand specialist, will examine your finger and may request X-rays to assess the extent of damage.

Treatment Options

The choice of treatment for Boutonniere deformity depends on its severity and the underlying cause. Here are some common approaches:

  1. Conservative Treatment: For mild cases, non-surgical methods may suffice. These include splinting the finger to keep it in the correct position, physical therapy to regain finger strength and flexibility, and anti-inflammatory medications to manage pain and swelling.
  2. Surgery: In severe cases or when conservative treatments fail, surgical intervention may be necessary. Surgery aims to repair damaged tendons, ligaments, or joint structures to restore normal finger function.
  3. Rheumatoid Arthritis Management: If the deformity is related to rheumatoid arthritis, managing the underlying condition is crucial. Medications and lifestyle changes can help control arthritis symptoms and prevent further finger joint deformities.

Recovery and Rehabilitation

After treatment, rehabilitation is essential. Physical therapy exercises, recommended by a healthcare professional, can help improve finger strength and dexterity. It’s vital to follow the prescribed rehabilitation plan to achieve the best possible outcome.


Boutonniere deformity can have a significant impact on a person’s hand function and quality of life. Understanding its causes, recognizing its symptoms, and seeking prompt medical evaluation are key steps toward effective treatment. Whether through conservative methods or surgery, there are options available to address this finger joint deformity and improve hand function. If you suspect you have this condition, consult with a healthcare professional for a proper diagnosis and personalized treatment plan.

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