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Home :: Finger Sprain

Finger Sprain

A finger sprain is stretching or tearing of the ligaments that support the small joints of the finger. Ligaments are strong bands of tissue that connect bones to each other.

Violent overstretching of one or more ligaments that hold the finger joints together. Sprains involving two or more ligaments cause considerably more disability than single-ligament sprains. When the ligament is overstretched, it becomes tense and gives way at its weakest point, either where it attaches to bone or within the ligament itself. There are 3 types of sprains:

  • Mild (Grade I)-Tearing of some ligament fibers. There is no loss of function.
  • Moderate (Grade II)-Rupture of a portion of the ligament, resulting in some loss of function.
  • Severe (Grade III)-Complete rupture of the ligament or complete separation of ligament from bone. There is total loss of function. A severe sprain requires surgical repair.

BODY PARTS INVOLVED

  • Ligaments holding the joints of the fingers together.
  • Tissue surrounding the sprain, including blood vessels, tendons, bone, periosteum (covering of bone) and muscles.

Causes

Stress on a ligament that temporarily forces or pries finger joints out of their normal location. Finger sprains occur frequently in football, baseball, basketball and other exercise or sports activities.

Signs & Symptoms

  • Severe pain at the time of injury.
  • A feeling of popping or tearing inside a finger or fingers.
  • Tenderness at the Injury site.
  • Swelling in the finger.
  • Bruising that appears soon after Injury.

Treatment

Follow your doctor's instructions. Instructions are supplemental.

  • RICE: Rest the finger until Day 5 when you should start gentle motion exercises, apply Ice to finger (not directly onto skin) for 20 minutes up to 3 times a day for 2 days, Compression - Wrap an elastic compression bandage around the finger to limit swelling, Elevate the involved hand above the level of the heart as much as possible for the first few days or until there is decreased swelling (will help drain fluid and reduce swelling).

If the doctor does not apply a splint, tape or elastic bandage:

  • Continue using an ice pack 3 or 4 times a day.Put ice chips or cubes in a plastic bag. Wrap the bag in a moist towel, and place it over the injured area. Use for 20 minutes at a time.
  • After 72 hours, apply heat instead of ice, if it feels better.Use heat lamps, hot soaks, hot showers,heating pads, or heat liniments or ointments.
  • Take whirlpool treatments, if available.
  • Massage gently and often to provide comfort and decrease swelling.

Medication - In consultation with your doctor, consider taking one of the following over-the-counter (OTC) drugs to help reduce inflammation and pain:

  • Ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil)
  • Naproxen (Aleve, Naprosyn)
  • Acetaminophen (Tylenol)
  • Aspirin
Your doctor may prescribe a stronger drug if the OTC drugs do not help with the pain.

Home Diet

During recovery, eat a well-balanced diet that includes extra protein, such as meat, fish, poultry, cheese, milk and eggs.

Prevention Tips

Tape vulnerable joints before practice or competition. You can also reduce your risk of getting a finger sprain by learning and practicing correct technique in sports and using proper equipment. However, in many cases, they cannot be prevented.

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