So, my finger is all healed now! I wore the splint for about 11 weeks, which is almost twice the suggested length of time. After researching the Internet I decided that the suggested 6 weeks was not enough for me and I wanted the splint to stay on longer, though not so long as to inhibit movement.
I didn't have to go the doctor for a checkup! This was a financial blessing. We just so happened to have an OT who is a hand therapist speak to our Anatomy class in April. I asked her to look at my finger and she said it looked healed and now it was time to start OT services on myself, lol. She suggested that everyday, for about 1-2 weeks, I take the splint off and slowly make a fist. This was tough at first because my finger was so stiff! It took me about a week or so of constant finger flexing to make a full, but light, fist.
She then suggested that after the second week of this I take the splint off for a couple of hours everyday, increasing the time the splint is off until I am no longer wearing it. I did this but was very careful. I made sure to wear the splint if I was going to do heavy lifting or some activity where I wasn't paying attention to my fingers. I also suffered a loss of about 5 degrees of both flexion and hyperextension. I believe this is the reason why I can't make a really tight fist.
I performed more research online and found out that I should wear the splint at night for at least another 6 to 12 weeks. This prevents injury while I'm sleeping. So, I'm still in this stage but some nights I forget.
My finger was a terrible color when I first took the splint off. As you can see from my pictures I am Black, and to see an abnormally pale, white finger surrounded by brown skin was a little...scary. It was just lack of air circulation, of course. And over time my finger returned to its normal, beautiful caramel brown color.
I cannot make a tight fist...yet...and this of course has decreased my grip strength in my left hand. Also, I sometimes cannot grip my hair properly while plaiting it. I don't push my finger too much right now but over time I will push it a bit more.
Everyone says you can't even tell it was ever injured, which is awesome to hear.
Hands are just so important! So, take care of yourself!