jammed finger is a frustrating sports injury. It can happen in just
about any sport, and while seemingly simple, can really put a damper on
your ability to play. Learn more about finger sprains, how they happen,
and what to do about them below.
is a Jammed Finger?
jammed finger, in medical terms, is a sprain of the joint capsule of
the inter-phalangeal joints. What? In English? It is injury to the
A joint sprain involves injury to
ligaments or the
joint capsule. Every joint in the body is comprised of both ligaments
and joint capsule in order to connect the bones together. The fingers,
although often overlooked, are no different. Just like other joints,
the capsule and ligaments can be damaged if subjected to significant
force...which leads us to how a jammed finger happens...
has probably happended to you before. You were reaching out to catch
the basketball, and it moved funny, or you weren't quite ready, and it
caught you right on the end of your finger. It hurts like crazy, and
kinda stuns you for a minute. That is how you jam your finger.
force that hits the end of the finger is translated through the bones
into the joint. Often, the ends of the phalanges (finger bones) are
bruised at the knuckle, and this is what causes the swelling, as well
as damage to the capsule.
There are other ways to
finger sprain. You can get it bent the wrong way, or too far another
way. You can get it stepped on, smashed between two helmets, hit with a
baseball, or any other numerous ways that produce enough force to cause
injury. Fingers are in the middle of most sports, and they tend to get
of a Jammed Finger
swelling, loss of motion, and loss of strength are all very common
symptoms of a jammed finger. Swelling within the joint is very obvious,
and you can usually tell very easily when you have suffered a finger
One knuckle will swell up, and it will
bigger than the others. Unfortunately, this swelling often lasts for
weeks if not months. Sometimes it never completely goes away.
and motion usually come back fairly quickly, depending on how severe
the sprain is.
Treating a Jammed Finger
pain and swelling are the first steps of treating a jammed finger. As
soon after injury as you can, use the R.I.C.E. Principles
to help reduce your pain and discomfort. Depending on how much pain,
swelling, and loss of motion you have, you may need to see your
This is especially true if you took a
hit to the finger, or if it was bent backwards violently. You may have
suffered a finger fracture and not just a sprain. It is sometimes hard
to differentiate between the two, so an X-ray may be a good idea to be
a fracture is
ruled out, you can begin working on improving your range of motion and
strength. Use ice and rest for a few days, and then begin trying to
bend and straighten the finger. Do this gently, only pushing into mild
discomfort. Gradually, your motion will return, as swelling goes down.
finger sprains may need to be splinted. If you have significant
swelling and pain, see your physician, and they will direct you with
fingers are very common in
sports, and they are ofen overlooked as insignificant. This is
sometimes true, but a little rest and ice can go a long way to reduce
the time it takes to heal, and to get things back to normal.
assume that you just sprained your finger. If you have lots of swelling
and pain, see your physician for an X-ray. Fingers, although
overlooked, are extremely important to your sports participation, and
in the rest of life. Do yourself a favor and take care of them.
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