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Boutonnière deformity

Boutonnière deformity is the eponymous name of a musculoskeletal manifestation of rheumatoid arthritis presenting in a digit, with the combination of:

  • flexion contracture of a proximal interphalangeal (PIP) joint
  • extension of a distal interphalangeal (DIP) joint

Boutonnière deformities occur when the central slip of the extensor digitorum tendon is torn or stretched resulting in PIP joint flexion. Increasing PIP joint flexion causes further extensor retinaculum damage resulting in "buttonholing" of the proximal phalanx between the lateral bands of the extensor tendon. Secondary DIP joint extension then occurs 4.

"Boutonnière" is French for buttonhole. The appearance apparently reminded (presumably French-speaking) surgeons of a buttonhole.


Article information

rID: 21573
Section: Signs
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:
  • Boutonniere deformities

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Cases and figures

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  • Case 3
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