Original Editor - Jon DeVaul, PT, DPT
This test evaluates the source of PIP flexion motion limitation by differentiating between intrinsic muscle or capsular tightness in the affected digit. A typical patient presentation may include pain located in the distal intermetacarpal space and with prolonged gripping or making a fist. Symptoms are most often seen in the ring and long finger.
The MCP is held in an extended position and the therapist passively flexes the PIP making note of the available range. The test is then repeated with the MCP flexed. If no change in motion is detected between the two tests, then capsular restriction at the PIP joint is implicated. If the motion increases when the MCP is flexed, then lumbricale muscle tightness is implicated.
While referred to in many searched texts and articles, no search of Pubmed, Medline, or Medscape produced results pertaining to the specificity or sensitivity of this test by the name Bunnell-Littler, or the associated name Finochietto-Bunnell test.
Orthopaedic Physical Therapy by Donatelli and Wooden. 4th edition.
Special Tests for Orthopedic Examination by Konin, Wiksten, Isear, and Brader. 2nd edition.