Think Fast, Jammed Fingers Can Happen In An Instant
By: Elisa Knutsen, M.D.
It’s back to school season, and that means fall sports. Unfortunately, it can also mean sports injuries. Jammed fingers are common sports injuries in basketball, football and volleyball, and even in regular daily activities. Jammed fingers occur when the tip of the finger is compressed towards the hand. Even though the compression is at the tip of the finger, often the joint or knuckle is the injured part of the finger. These injuries can range from sprains to fractures to dislocation.
There are ligaments around the finger joints that are sprained or sometimes torn as a result of the impact at the end of a finger. If the jamming is severe enough, one of the bones about the joint may break or the joint can be dislocated.
Often jammed fingers swell and are quite painful. When there is an obvious deformity of the finger, severe pain or inability to bend the finger at all, then medical attention should be sought right away. Finger X-rays will be obtained to assess the alignment of the finger and evaluate for associated fractures.
Initially jammed fingers injuries should be treated with ice, elevation and avoiding strenuous activities with the hand. A splint can be beneficial initially, but can cause finger stiffness if left on for prolonged periods. Even though, it is “just a finger,” it can take some hand therapy and home exercises to get swelling decreased and motion increased after a jamming injury.