A finger is sprained when the ligaments connecting and supporting the joints and bones of the finger are stretched or torn. Sprained fingers are painful, can swell, and become difficult to move.
Sprained fingers are among some of the most common injuries, even more so in athletes who handle, throw, and catch balls. Sprains and strains are, by far, the most common type of injury among Canadians at 51 percent.
Here’s all you need to know about sprained fingers including symptoms and treatment options.
Symptoms of a Sprained Finger
The first thing you’ll notice if you have a sprained finger is inflammation. This is because inflammation is the body’s immune system’s response to injury. You may also experience a reduced level of mobility in your sprained finger.
Most of the accompanying symptoms are connected to inflammation. They include:
- Increased level of pain when you attempt to move the finger
- Inability to bend, extend, or straighten the finger
- Throbbing when the finger is resting or when hanging by your side
Treatment for Sprained Finger
If your sprain is mild, that is, the ligament has stretched but not been torn, you probably don’t require medical attention. Mildly sprained fingers are treated by RICE (rest, ice, compression, and elevation) to decrease blood flow and inflammation.
RICE treatment involves resting the joint and applying ice packs on (and then off) for about 20 minutes. Make sure to wrap the ice pack in a towel before applying it to the skin. Compressing the joint involves wrapping it and keeping it elevated. Both compression and elevation will help to decrease the swelling.
If your sprain is more severe, you will need to see a doctor for treatment, which may involve immobilizing the finger using a splint to ensure healing and recovery. If the ligament is torn, they may need to operate to repair it.
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