Get Along Without a Pinkie? It’s Tougher Than You Might Think | Dr. Glickel Speaks With The NY Times

Published on December 15, 2008
Dr. Glickel Speaks to the NY Times

The pinkie, the humble fifth finger, has long been viewed as a decorative accessory, something to extend daintily from a wine glass. So what would you lose if you didn’t have one?

The New York Times consulted OrthoManhattan’s Dr. Steven Glickel:

This high incidence of fractures may be attributable to the pinkie’s status, along with the index finger, as a “border digit,” or a bookend to the middle and ring fingers, said Dr. Steven Glickel, director of the C. V. Starr Hand Surgery Center at St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital Center in Manhattan and president of the American Society for Surgery of the Hand.

And while the index finger “is at least somewhat protected by being adjacent to the thumb,” he went on, “the little finger has virtually no protection.”

Bones of the little finger, the distal, middle and proximal phalanges are typically broken by falls or by the finger’s being struck by something, like a basketball. Though stiffness and swelling may result, many people do not realize the finger is broken, so they do not seek treatment.

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