Late night talk show host Jimmy Fallon had a little scare recently where he slipped in his kitchen and caught his ring on the countertop. Fallon explained he suffered from “ring avulsion,” a serious injury caused by the sudden pull on a finger that often results in amputation. Fortunately, doctors were able to save Fallon’s finger and he is expected to make a full recovery. This seemingly freak accident got us at Professional Physical Therapy thinking that many of his fans might like to know “What does his road to recovery look like?” and “Could Jimmy have done anything differently to avoid almost losing his ring finger?”
We went to our expert, Certified Hand Therapist and Physical Therapist at our Chelsea NYC location, Shereen Tan. Professional Physical Therapy sat down with Shereen to answer our questions about ring avulsion.
Professional PT: What are the benefits that physical therapy / hand therapy can provide for a person recovering from a ring avulsion injury?
Shereen Tan (ST): With Hand therapy, our primary goal would be to help restore range of motion of the digit, especially after immobilized in a bulky bandaging. The therapy would focus on the patient to be able to make a functional fist and restore digital extension. Next, we want to de-sensitize the affected area as the patient will experience some sensory loss or increase pain to light touch due to abnormal firing of the nerves. If there is a distal amputation, it is important that protective sensation is restored and appropriate stump care is given. As with any surgery, manual mobilization techniques will help reduce scar formation post-surgery. Finally, we would create an exercise program that would help maximize the patient’s functional mobility.
Professional PT: Are there any precautions that can be taken (besides taking off the ring) that could minimize risk of, or prevent, a ring avulsion injury
ST: While ring avulsions can be more common in basketball players where their finger could get caught in the net, or with anyone operating machinery, as we saw with Jimmy Fallon, it could also be the result of a simple slip and fall. If you know you are going to be playing a sport or operating machinery, it is best to remove any jewelry on your hand/ finger to prevent it from being caught or stuck on to something.
Professional PT: As a Certified Hand Specialist, do you have anything else you’d like to share about ring avulsion?
ST: Ring avulsions are uncommon but as with what we saw with Jimmy Fallon, can happen to anyone in the wrong place at the wrong time. And Jimmy, when you’re ready, I’d be more than willing to help guide you through your rehab!
Shereen Tan, Clinical Director, Physical Therapist, and Certified Hand Therapist at Professional PT in Chelsea
Note: The above tips are some of the practices that Professional Physical Therapy has observed in the area of physical therapy and athletic training. While each person and activity is unique, there are some general guidelines that may reduce or lessen injury.