Contractures of the intrinsic muscles of the fingers disrupt the delicate and complex balance of intrinsic and extrinsic muscles, which allows the hand to be so versatile and functional. The loss of muscle function primarily affects the interphalangeal joints but also may affect etacarpophalangeal joints. The resulting clinical picture is often termed, intrinsic contracture or intrinsic-plus hand. Disruption of the balance between intrinsic and extrinsic muscles has many causes and may be secondary to changes within the intrinsic musculature or the tendon unit. This article reviews diagnosis, etiology, and treatment algorithms in the management of intrinsic contractures of the fingers.
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