|MadSci Network: Medicine|
Hi Amy, That is an interesting question. I would say that there are potential advantages and disadvanatges to doing push-ups with extended fingers versus just on the palms. People have been doing these for a long time anyway in the martial arts, even doing them on as few as 2 fingers(thumb and 1st finger). So what are the advantages? Well, by keeping the fingers extended you would exercise the small flexor and extensor muscles of the wrist, hand and fingers as well as your arms, shoulders and pecs. How much are you getting out of it, enough to make some sort of difference in forearm and hand strength. What are the diadvantages? Well you could potentially injure the very small ligaments and tendons in the fingers resulting in deformity of the fingers. For example, Boutonniere's deformity occurs when the extensor tendon insertion site to the middle phalynx is torn(called the central slip). But this can be repaired surgically in most cases. Most often this injury occurs when an outstretched finger is hit tip end on, such as a basketball hitting the end if the finger. For a better explanation and picture see the link included. http://www.handuniversity.com/topics.asp?Topic_ID=21 I would think that squeezing excercises such a a ball in the hand would provide enough strengthening without the extended finger pushups. But in the end I think it is up to the person to decide if it works for them or not taking into account possible injury that may occur. Hope this helps some. Mark Sullivan, MD
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