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Finger Sprain

Each finger is made up of three bones, called phalanges, except for the thumb, which is made up of only two phalanges. The phalanges connect to the metacarpal bones of the hand. The bones within each finger are connected by bands of flexible tissue called ligaments. A finger sprain is a tear or stretch of the ligaments in the fingers

Finger Sprain Hero Image 2

Each finger is made up of three bones, called phalanges, except for the thumb, which is made up of only two phalanges. The phalanges connect to the metacarpal bones of the hand. The bones within each finger are connected by bands of flexible tissue called ligaments. A finger sprain is a tear or stretch of the ligaments in the fingers. While finger sprains are common among athletes, they are highly treatable.

What causes Finger Sprain?

Finger sprains are caused by a physical force to the finger that over-stretches or tears the ligaments in the finger. This injury can occur due to a fall on an outstretched hand, or when a ball jams or bends an outstretched finger. Finger sprains frequently result from a sports injury, and are most common in these sports:

• Basketball
• Baseball
• Softball
• Gymnastics
• Football
• Rugby

Symptoms

With a finger strain, athletes usually experience pain or stiffness in the affected finger joint. Other common symptoms include:

• Swelling
• Tenderness
• Limited mobility
• Bruising

When to see a doctor

If you have injured your finger and it doesn’t get better within three or four days, you should see your doctor. At your appointment, be sure to provide the details of your injury and the sports you play. This information will help your doctor make a diagnosis.

During a physical examination of your finger, your doctor will look for signs of swelling and tenderness. You may be asked to extend and flex your finger to see if you have limited mobility. X-rays may be ordered to help your doctor evaluate the extent of your injury and determine if you have fractured or only sprained your finger.

Non-operative treatment

While common, finger sprains are also highly treatable with non-surgical measures. Treatment may include:

• Applying ice to reduce swelling and pain
• Keeping your finger elevated, especially at night, to reduce swelling
• Gently moving your finger to prevent stiffness
• Taking anti-inflammatory medication (e.g. aspirin, ibuprofen, or naproxen) for pain
• For more severe cases, it may be necessary to immobilize the finger for a short period of time using a splint or buddy taping to the next finger.

You can also try these exercises at home:

Finger Sprain

Recovery

Most finger sprains will fully heal within three to six weeks. A full return to sport will depend on the severity of the injury, and occupational l therapy may be helpful in your recovery. Often, it is helpful to protect the finger by taping when you first return to play to avoid re-injury.

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