My poor deformed finger

Well, I finished finger therapy yesterday after my April 4 accident in Rotorua, New Zealand, when I broke a tendon on a right-hand finger trying to stuff clothes into my backpack. It was a long haul of splinting and exercises, and, like the last time I acquired what’s known as a “mallet finger” (doing exactly the same thing but in São Tomé over a decade ago), I knew it was likely that the tendon, which reheals, would never do so in a way to allow the finger to be straight.

My other mallet finger, the middle one on the same hand, healed with about a ten-degree bend. This one didn’t do as well: they measured the bend at twenty degrees. That is acceptable for all functional purposes (though borderline); the bend is only aesthetically displeasing. I could have had surgery to straighten it, but why bother? That would have involved putting a wire in the finger and then removing it—and a long process of healing and rehealing.

Anyway: voilà.  You can see the difference in angle between the normal and mallet finger. But I can still type and do everything I could do before, and there’s neither pain nor awkwardness.

And so our bodies decay, accumulating injuries and deformities as we age. I’ll go to the grave with this bent finger, my only consolation being that after the tendon decays, my skeleton will finally have a straight digit!


  1. Posted September 21, 2017 at 7:05 am | Permalink

    Reminds me of the Monty Python scene, “Always look on the bright side of life”. 🙂

  2. Posted September 21, 2017 at 7:16 am | Permalink

    Gosh, once the capacity for reproduction is gone, nature is done with us.

    • Posted September 21, 2017 at 7:20 am | Permalink

      Yeah, and I have no grandchildren who need me around to tend them. I’m about 30 years older than the life span I would have had on the savannah.

      • rickflick
        Posted September 21, 2017 at 9:05 am | Permalink

        It might be a slight consolation to remember that almost all Neanderthal remains have multiple broken bones, especially around the upper torso. There teeth were worn flat from an early age, and they lived to about 30 years.

      • squidmaster
        Posted September 21, 2017 at 8:27 pm | Permalink

        Do you think that there is any reproductive advantage to people you’ve educated? I’ve thought about this, as I am also childless and around your age. But, I’ve educated more than 40 years of medical students, residents, undergraduates and neuroscience graduate students. Did I increase their fitness? Or did my side comments about population pressure on scarce resources cause them to have fewer offspring?

        I’m confident of my intellectual contribution, but…

  3. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted September 21, 2017 at 7:23 am | Permalink

    Sone say I t’ll be fixed when you get to Heaven, right?

    Kidding of course – I see it as battle damage – a badge of honor. Wear it with pride!

    Been meaning to send this slightly relevant Crash Test Dummies song, God Shuffled His Feet:

    After seven days
    He was quite tired so God said
    “Let there be a day
    Just for picnics, with wine and bread”
    He gathered up some people he had made
    Created blankets and laid back in the shade
    The people sipped their wine
    And what with God there, they asked him questions
    Like, do you have to eat
    Or get your hair cut in heaven?
    And if your eye got poked out in this life
    Would it be waiting up in heaven with your wife?

    God shuffled his feet and glanced around at them
    The people cleared their throats and stared right back at him
    So he said “once there was a boy
    Who woke up with blue hair
    To him it was a joy
    Until he ran out into the warm air
    He thought of how his friend would come to see
    And would they laugh, or had he got some strange disease?”
    God shuffled his feet and glanced around at them
    The people cleared their throats and stared right back at him
    The people sat waiting
    Out on their blankets in the garden
    But God said nothing
    So someone asked him “I beg your pardon
    I’m not quite clear about what you just spoke
    What that a parable, or a very subtle joke?”
    God shuffled his feet and glanced around at them
    The people cleared their throats and stared right back at him

    Video which I never saw but has the music :

  4. Posted September 21, 2017 at 7:37 am | Permalink

    I broke the second most distal joint in my L little finger when I was a youth of about 11.

    Being the stoic Minnesota Scandinavian, we did nothing about it until it healed “wrong”; but still hurt and was stiff (wouldn’t bend).

    I had surgery on it a few weeks later and when completed, the finger does bend but at an odd angle relative to the axis of the finger (it’s twisted relative to the finger’s axis).

    Perfectly functional, I’m happy to say, even to a high degree of use for important melody notes while playing fingerstyle guitar.

    I have been very fortunate in my various injuries; and I have not passed any of them along to my progeny. 🙂

  5. BobTerrace
    Posted September 21, 2017 at 8:00 am | Permalink

    From the perspective of the fingertip, the rest of you is bent at a 20° angle and is deformed. 🤔🤞

  6. Randy schenck
    Posted September 21, 2017 at 8:02 am | Permalink

    I can think of a couple of times when there was a desire to give one the finger. Usually when driving for some reason.

  7. Linda Calhoun
    Posted September 21, 2017 at 8:40 am | Permalink

    Maybe you should consider getting a bigger backpack?


  8. Posted September 21, 2017 at 9:45 am | Permalink

    I had a similar accident with my right (most active) hand. Made a picture of it and forwarded it to you by e-mail. Greetings,

  9. jwthomas
    Posted September 21, 2017 at 9:53 am | Permalink

    As an octogenarian I can tell you that the older we get the more likely earlier injuries that are not fully healed tend to come back to torment us in later life. Get everything fixed while you can.

    • Mike
      Posted September 22, 2017 at 8:19 am | Permalink

      I can attest to that .

  10. Jeremy Tarone
    Posted September 21, 2017 at 11:29 am | Permalink

    “Getting old is not for sissies.”
    ― Bette Davis

    • squidmaster
      Posted September 21, 2017 at 8:29 pm | Permalink

      is the excellent Mx. Davis the originator of this quote? I’m a bit tired of hearing it, but my ill grace would be tempered if she were the first to say it.

  11. jimroberts
    Posted September 21, 2017 at 12:19 pm | Permalink

    Getting old has its downsides, but it still beats the alternative.

  12. Posted September 21, 2017 at 5:08 pm | Permalink

    You write “my right hand finger”, yet the photo shows a bend in your left hand finger.

    • Mike
      Posted September 22, 2017 at 8:21 am | Permalink

      Unless pictured through a mirror.

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