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Swan Neck Deformity


Updated September 03, 2008

Definition: A swan neck deformity is a finger condition that prevents you from being able to fully straighten your finger. Three finger joints that can be seen when you make a fist. In a swan neck deformity, the joint in the middle is hyperextended (beyond straight), while the joint at the tip of the finger is flexed (bent).

The reason a swan neck deformity occurs is due to a tendon problem on the back of the hand. When not functioning normally, the tendons are unable to perform their normal functions, including straightening the finger. The most common causes of a swan neck deformity are either an untreated mallet finger, or rheumatoid arthritis of the fingers.


Boyer MI and Gelberman RH "Operative correction of swan-neck and boutonniere deformities in the rheumatoid hand" J. Am. Acad. Ortho. Surg., Mar 1999; 7: 92 - 100.

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