Inability to Unfold Fingers

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Distinguished member
Oct 2, 2008
I was visiting my mum yesterday when I realised she cannot unfold her fingers naturally. If the fingers of her left hand are bent, she has to use the other hand to open them up and straighten them.

Is this part of hand atrophy? I tried to google, but was unable to get any direct answers, so I thought I would try asking here.

Hand/finger atrophy

Yes, that is atrophy. Please look into getting her hand splints to help correct this because it will be a real painful problem for her later, if it is not already. My husband found great relief from wearing the splints to bed each night. Al, also has pictures of his hand splints on this site.

Former cALS to husband, Jeff: 7-5-2007
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Dear Katkath

Our friend is a Occupational Therapist and gave George a device that I wrap his fingers around at bedtime (looks like a minature megaphone with a wide elastic strap)
This prevents his fingers from locking closed during the night and less pain in the morning.
Hi Louie,

Thank you for your reply. She told me there is no pain, but I do see bruises on her finger joints after bending. I will look into getting hand splints for her from the docs.

Thanks again.

Hi hopingforthebest,

Thank you for the info. I will speak to an OT at the hospital and see what they can do for her. If he or she doesn't say anything about that, I will ask. :)


My hubby has the resting hand splint, but we also found something else that works quite well for him. They are called oval eights. They are made of 2 different materials, hard plastic or the silver rings. My hubby has the hard plastic ones. They slide over the knuckle and keep the fingers extented. It enables him to still hold things like cups and his eating utensils that he would not be able to do without them.

Do you have a picture of the oval eights? I tried to google for a picture, but nothing comes up. Perhaps it has an alternative name?

My left hand that is the worst will do this if i am gripping something for awhile, especially if it is something cold like a soda can. I usually straighten them by laying my hand on a table and pulling it backward so that the fingers go up and straigten and as soon as they do i can start wiggling them. It feels gross to me to straighten them one by one because they feel like clay or like they are not apart of my body. Sam
Oval - 8 Finger Splints

Sorry for the delay in posting to the request for pics of the splints. Here is the link for the finger splints that my husband uses. Most insurance covers this, but you will need a script from your physician. These have been quite helpful for my hubby.

When you are on the site, the pic labeled Boutonniere Deformity, is how he wears his. This aides in keeping the finger straight.

Hope this is helpful.
God Bless.
Sammantha, Katekath

I posted the link for the splints. Once the moderator views and approves this, you will be able to see the product my husband uses.
hi katekath-

It also could be due to spasticity. Check with your local OT. It will become very important for your Mum to continue to passively stretch and unfold the fingers without adding too much stress on the joints. This along with splints will prevent scar tissue or contractures from beginning.

Best of luck-

gimpydad'slady: Thank you so much! I tried to talk to the doctor (as I can't get to the OT) and she was totally clueless, so having a picture will really help. :)

Cindy: Thanks for the info. I'm trying to get to the OT to talk to him. I had been talking to my mum and getting her to unfold her fingers herself when I am not around. It's so scary to see her unfolding them one by one, but that has to do for now.
Hey Katekath, I have got my Oval-8 yesterday and it is amazing. Simple, smooth, light and cheap.
Go for it. It is very handy but you need to get the right size
Hi all,

Spoke to the OT. He said it is not hand atrophy but stiff joints and taught my mum exercises to do to relief it. Doc also examined her and stated there is no swelling or inflammation. OT also said there is no need for splints or brace. Mentioned the Oval-8 and he said there is no need for them as of now since my mum can still keep her fingers straight.

I don't know why, but I don't exactly trust them. I guess I have to double check with another doc on the team caring for her. I don't feel safe leaving it as it is. Somehow.

Omar: Good to hear it works well for you! I was thinking of getting it myself for my mum when she needs it, but it was stated at the website only medical/ healthcare workers can buy it. Also worried about getting the wrong size, but I am such a worrier, really. lol.

greetings everyone,

I just wanted to get on here and let you know I ordered my oval 8's today, sort of a merry christmas to me kind of thing I guess!

Can't wait to see how they work,
I'll keep you updated,
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