Sprained Finger: What Is A Sprained Finger?
A sprained finger is a fracture of the bones around the joint where your fingers meet. There are several types of fractures of the joints and each one causes different symptoms. Some fractures heal quickly while others may cause pain and swelling for months after they have healed.
The most common type of fracture in humans is called a “dislocated” fracture. When the bone is dislodged from its socket it moves out of alignment with the rest of the bones in your hand. Your hand no longer fits into place properly causing pain and discomfort.
Another common type of fracture is called a “sprain”. When a bone breaks down, it stretches or bends at other points along its length. These stretching and bending movements cause pain when they occur over long periods of time.
If a bone is not straight, then it will continue to stretch and bend until it snaps or breaks. If you have ever had a small nail go through your finger, you know exactly what I am talking about. It was only because the bone snapped that you could feel any pain at all!
In both cases, the injury caused pain and inflammation but did not break completely apart. You would still need to see a doctor for surgery if necessary.
Sprained finger are difficult to tell apart from broken fingers. Most doctors will send you for an x-ray to find out exactly what is wrong.
Sprained finger are much more common than broken fingers because the skin and muscles around the joints act as protective padding. Your fingers are less likely to be sprained than broken because the muscles and skin around your finger can bend and move without breaking. But, they can also tear or rip when overstretched. If your finger is sprained, you will experience:
Swelling and discoloration around the area of injury.
Pain and tenderness in the area of the injury.
Tissue around the joint may look red or purple.
Sprained finger will typically heal within a week or two. You can treat the injury at home with ice, compression, and elevation (ice pack, wrap with an elastic bandage, keep your hand elevated as much as possible). Use pain medication to relieve the pain, but avoid taking any medication that contains acetaminophen (Tylenol) without asking your doctor because it can be dangerous if taken in large quantities.
Sprained finger exercises are designed to strengthen the muscles and tendons in your hands and arms. They help reduce the risk of developing arthritis in the future and can also help improve your grip strength.
Sprained finger are very common. Most sprained fingers will heal within a week or two without any treatment beyond resting your hand and icing the injury. You can learn how to prevent sprained finger by strengthening the tendons in your hands.
Here are some tips from the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons on how to avoid sprained finger:
Always wear gloves when doing yard work or working with tools to protect your hands.
Avoid bending your finger or twisting it back when handling tools.
Don’t carry heavy objects with just your fingertips.
Wear protective gear when playing sports to prevent sprains and other hand injuries.
If you play the drums or another percussion instrument, use a proper drumstick grip to prevent overstretching of the tendons.
If you are using a tool such as a screwdriver or hammer, make sure it fits your hand and grasp it properly.
If you are a guitarist, make sure the strings on your instrument are the right height. If they are too high, it can lead to stress and injury of the fingers and tendons.
Make sure your workstation is organized so you don’t overstretch to reach for tools.
Take frequent rest breaks to avoid fatigue and overstretching.
Always warm up before engaging in any physical activity.
Many activities such as typing on a computer can cause finger, hand, and wrist pain if you don’t take proper steps to prevent injury.
When using a computer, it is important to place the keyboard and mouse in a position that keeps your hands in an ergonomic position and takes stress off the tendons.
You should also take frequent rest breaks and stretch your hands, arms, shoulders, and wrists to keep them limber.
Sources & references used in this article:
The sprained finger that isn’t. by ET O’Brien – American family physician, 1981 – ncbi.nlm.nih.gov
How i Manage Sprained Finger in Athletes by ME Brunet, RJ Haddad, J Sanchez… – The Physician and …, 1984 – Taylor & Francis
Lesions of the Volar Fibrocartilago in Finger Joints: A 2-Year Material by JT Møller – Acta Orthopaedica Scandinavica, 1974 – Taylor & Francis
The use of a graft from the second extensor compartment to reconstruct the A2 flexor pulley in the long finger by M Gabl, C Reinhart, M Lutz, G Bodner… – The Journal of Hand …, 2000 – Elsevier
Children’s ice hockey injuries by JD Brust, BJ Leonard, A Pheley… – American journal of …, 1992 – jamanetwork.com