Torn Finger Ligament

Overview

Some of us are born with five on each hand, some are born with less and some have none. A finger is a digit that attaches to the hand to complete tasks, help with writing, drawing, etc. There are five digits on the hand, one of them is the thumb, which is usually not considered a finger. The four fingers of the hand include: the index, middle, ring and little (pinky). There are three bones or phalanges located in the four fingers. The main purposes for fingers are for holding things, feeling, touching and grasping. Each finger has its own weaknesses and strengths, but a torn ligament in the finger
can be painful. A ligament is a fibrous band of tissue that connects bones together. Unfortunately, when a torn finger ligament occurs hands and fingers can weaken drastically, making daily duties impossible to accomplish.

Causes

Torn Finger Ligament

The tough tissues of the body, known as the ligaments, help join two bones together in order to stabilize a joint. In some cases, the ligaments can weaken or be injured causing a torn ligament in the finger. Some of the causes of a torn finger ligament are:

  • Forceful stretch
  • Jammed finger
  • Mallet finger or hammer finger
  • Animal Bites
  • Motor-Vehicle accident
  • Trauma to the hands or finger

Symptoms of a Torn Finger Ligament

Like with most injuries to the body parts, a torn ligament in the finger can be quite painful. The symptoms that accompany this type of injury are as follows:

  • Joint Instability: This symptom will refrain your hand and fingers from doing normal activities such as straightening the finger.
  • Pain and Weakness: Although the ring and little finger are the weakest of the fingers, a torn ligament in the finger will cause more weakness than normal.
  • Hyperextension: This occurs when a finger can excessively bend backwards or forwards.
  • Inability to grasp or hold: If a finger or fingers are having trouble grasping or holding onto objects, there may be an underlying issue such as a tear in the ligament.
  • Bleeding
  • Bruising
  • Swelling
  • Deformity
  • Skin changes color
  • Numbness of tingling
  • Fever

Diagnosis

It is important to head to a medical office or hospital if you are having problems with your fingers and hands. Since a tear in the ligament of the finger can small, an X-ray will not show injuries to the ligaments. Instead of the common medical test of an X-ray, doctors can use the following to diagnosis a tear in the ligament of the finger.

  • Test the stability of the finger at a 30-degree angle
  • Test for full flexion and extension of the finger
  • Radiography
  • Ultrasonography

Each of these tests will help determine the extent of the injury and what type of treatment is needed.

Treatment

Treating a torn finger ligament can be easy or hard, depending on the damage. Most tears are treated with a finger split. It is key to keep your finger straight until the splint comes off. Apply ice packs to the affected area to reduce swelling and bruising. For pain, taking medications such as acetaminophen or naproxen can help. Depending on the type or extent of the tear, surgery may be required. A torn ligament can be caused from a torn tendon, which may warrant surgery.

Torn Finger Ligament

Tips

If you have a tear of the ligament in the finger, avoid contact sports for at least 6-8 weeks. It is important to allow your finger(s) the proper time to heal. Where applicable, wear a mitt when playing sports such as hockey and baseball. Do not self-diagnosis or self-treat a torn ligament in the finger, you could make matters worse.