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Buddy taping: is it a safe method for treatment of finger and toe injuries?

BACKGROUND: Buddy taping is a well known and useful method for treating sprains, dislocations, and other injuries of the fingers or toes. However, the authors have often seen complications associated with buddy taping such as necrosis of the skin, infections, loss of fixation, and limited joint motion. To our knowledge, there are no studies regarding the complications of buddy taping. The purpose of this study was to report the current consensus on treating finger and toe injuries and complications of buddy taping by using a specifically designed questionnaire.

METHODS: A questionnaire was designed for this study, which was regarding whether the subjects were prescribed buddy taping to treat finger and toe injuries, reasons for not using it, in what step of injury treatment it was use, indications, complications, kinds of tape for fixation, and special methods for preventing skin injury. Fifty-five surgeons agreed to participate in the study and the survey was performed in a direct interview manner at the annual meetings of the Korean Pediatric Orthopedic Association and Korean Society for Surgery of the Hand, in 2012.

RESULTS: Forty-eight surgeons (87%) used buddy taping to treat finger and toe injuries, especially proximal interphalangeal (PIP) injuries of the hand, finger fractures, toe fractures, metacarpophalangeal injuries of the hand, and PIP injuries of the foot. Sixty-five percent of the surgeons experienced low compliance. Forty-five percent of the surgeons observed skin injuries on the adhesive area of the tape, and skin injuries between the injured finger and healthy finger were observed by 45% of the surgeons.

CONCLUSIONS: This study sheds light on the current consensus and complications of buddy taping among physicians. Low compliance and skin injury should be considered when the clinician treats finger and toe injuries by using buddy taping.

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