Wrist Drop vs Finger Drop: Difference and Comparison

In today’s world, several medical issues cause various deadly diseases like malaria, dengue, typhoid, rubella, and tuberculosis.

Several different disease types range from spinal nerve infections, cardiac issues, numerological problems to skin infections, fevers, and other medical health problems. Two of the most famous nerve issues are wrist drops and finger drops. 

Key Takeaways

  1. Wrist drop is the inability to extend the wrist, while finger drop is the inability to extend the fingers.
  2. Wrist drop is caused by damage to the radial nerve, while finger drop is caused by damage to the ulnar nerve.
  3. Wrist drop is more common than finger drop.

Wrist Drop vs Finger Drop

Wrist drop affects the muscles that control wrist extension, while finger drop affects the muscles that control finger extension. Another difference is the appearance of the affected limb. In wrist drop, the hand tends to hang down, while in finger drop, the fingers tend to curl towards the palm.

Wrist Drop vs Finger Drop

Wrist Drop is radial nerve damage wherein the patient can’t straighten his/ her wrists. It is caused due to inability of the patient to extend and stretch his/ her wrist.

This issue eventually leads to the dropping down of the wrist. The extensors of the wrists become fragile, brittle, and weak

Finger Drop is a radial nerve palsy-related illness that makes it impossible for one to stretch their finger. The extensors of the fingers are heavily affected in this case.

It leads/ results in the dropping down of the fingers. It causes pain in the muscles of the fingers and shrinks them.

Comparison Table

Parameters Of ComparisonWrist DropFinger Drop
CauseIt is caused due to the weakening of the extensors of the wrists.It is caused due to the weakening of the extensors of the fingers.
TreatmentThere are various treatments like physiotherapy, splinting of the wrists, etc.The treatment includes applying a splint to the fingers.
SymptomsThe symptoms include pain in the wrist and the inability to stretch wrists.Pain in fingers and the inability to straighten the fingers are the symptoms of finger drop.
Body part AffectedWrist drop affects the wrists.Fingers are affected in the case of finger drop.
Also CalledCrunch paralysis is another name for wrist drop.Finger drop is as lo referred to as radial nerve palsy.

What is a Wrist Drop?

Wrist drop is a common medical condition wherein the wrists of the patient don’t straighten at the metacarpophalangeal joint. This medical condition is mainly caused due to a contradicting action of the forearm’s flexor muscle.

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Due to the opposing behavior of the flexor muscles, the extensor muscles of the wrists get affected and become weak.

Wrist drop results in the weakening and dropping off of the patient’s wrists. The medical illness of wrist drop has several other names. A few of its other names are:

  • Honeymoon Palsy
  • Saturday Night Palsy
  • Crotch Paralysis
  • Musculospiral Nerve Palsy  

The extensor muscles of the wrists come via the forearm. This extensor muscle consists of various individual muscles. The names of these individual muscles are listed below:

  • Extensor Carpi Ulnaris
  • Extensor Digit minim
  • Extensor Digitorum
  • Extensor Carpi Radials Lingus
  • Extensor Indicia
  • Extensor Carpi Radials Brevis

Wrist drop cans are easily treated and are curable. The treatment method includes physiotherapy, occupational therapy, osteopathic medicine, and splinting of the patient’s wrist.

The treatment or remedy might also include the surgical removal of any unwanted and toxic substance in the muscle/ nerve.

Wrist drop can be caused due to the following reasons:

  • A patient with rheumatoid arthritis gets diagnosed with neuropathy in the arms and hands.
  • Treating dislocated shoulders.
  • Lead Poisoning.
  • Persistent injury.

What is Finger Drop?

Finger drop is a serious medical condition that affects the extensor muscles of the finger. It is caused due to the weakening of the finger muscles at the metacarpophalangeal joint and interphalangeal joint.

The radial nerve is the major nerve that helps in the extension of the fingers and during the illness of finger drop this radial nerve is badly affected.

This medical condition is also referred to as a drop sign. Treatment is best to serve when the illness is found in its early stages. To identify the illness a few symptoms should be kept in mind and noted.

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The few symptoms of a finger drop are:

  • Unable to stretch or straighten one’s fingers (it is the most common symptom of the finger drop medical problem).
  • Fingers become numb, sore, and dry.
  • There is a sensation of tingling in the patient’s fingers.
  • The pain level in the fingers keeps increasing.
  • There is a rise in the sensitivity of the fingers diagnosed with finger drop.

Finger drop has several ways to get treated and cure. One of the most famous and common ways of getting a finger drop treated is by wrapping a split on the patient’s fingers.

Splints need to be wrapped on one’s finger for varying time intervals. The whole treatment process takes approximately 4 to 6 weeks to complete.

Main Differences Between Wrist Drop and Finger Drop

  1. Wrist drop is also called honeymoon palsy while on the other hand, finger drop is also termed as finger drop sign.
  2. Wrist drop affects the patient’s wrist while on the other hand, finger drop affects the patient’s fingers.
  3. Splinting of wrists is a major cure for wrist drop while on the other hand, a finger drop can be easily cured by splinting of fingers.
  4. Extensor muscles of the wrist are weakening and brittle in the case of wrist drop while on the other hand, extensor muscles of fingers are weakened during a finger drop.
  5. Wrist drop needs physiotherapy while on the other hand, finger drop doesn’t need any therapy.  
Difference Between Wrist Drop and Finger Drop
  1. https://scholar.google.com/scholar?hl=en&as_sdt=0%2C5&q=wrist+drop+treatment&oq=wrist+drop#d=gs_qabs&u=%23p%3DmvhAy970GiwJ
  2. https://scholar.google.com/scholar?hl=en&as_sdt=0%2C5&q=finger+drop+&btnG=#d=gs_qabs&u=%23p%3D7L2n9C_eng8J

Last Updated : 16 July, 2023

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