It has probably happened to you once or two that you have slammed your finger in the door or window. The pain that you have felt probably feels never ending, but then with a little extra treatment, voila, you are healed. Finger joint injury, also known as jammed finger, is a common injury among the public and especially among athletes. A jammed finger is applicable only for the pinky, ring, middle and index finger, not the thumb. An injury to the tendon that has allowed the bone to be torn from the tendon is the essential meaning of a jammed finger. Learn how to treat a jammed finger and more below.
While it should be a no-brainer how to recognize a jammed finger, some symptoms may resemble a torn or broken finger. The following are signs of a jammed finger.
- Droopy finger
- Inability to move properly
If you are experiencing one of the last three symptoms, it is best that you consult with a doctor asap.
A jammed finger usually occurs when a strong force slams into the finger, typically the tip of the finger. Most athletes suffer from this minor injury but there are other causes of a jammed finger.
- Playing sports
- Bending a finger too much
- Making hand contact with rough surfaces
- Falling on your hand
- Slamming a door or other object on your finger
- Pulling something hard using fingers
If you are unsure how to treat a jammed finger, a trip to the doctor is the best option. Doctors can easily detect a jammed finger and the correct treatment process. If a doctor has any doubts as to the extent of your injury, they may request additional testing such as:
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI): This is used to see how the cartilage, tendons and ligaments are holding up around the finger.
- X-ray: To rule out diseases such as bone infection or osteoarthristis, an x-ray can help look at the bones in your hand.
A doctor may request that you see a chiropractor or osteopath to help with the jammed finger.
How To Treat A Jammed Finger
Depending on the extensiveness of the jammed finger, the treatment methods can vary. Here are the best ways on how to treat a jammed finger. One of the most common treatments given by doctors is the R.I.C.E. treatment. This form of treatment begins with resting the finger. Allowing the finger to be completely still or refrain from constant movement will help heal the finger faster. The second part of this treatment is applying ice on the affected area. Ice packs or patches will help reduce the swelling and keep the area from bruising. Following the application of ice, one should apply compression to the area to decrease swelling. The last section of this treatment is to elevate the finger so that the recovery process can begin. If you are experiencing pain, take anti-inflammatory medications such as Aleve or Advil to help relieve the pain.
Remember that if you are not a doctor, do not try to “pull” the finger out to straighten it. This method of “treatment” will only cause the more damage to the finger than already caused. Taping the finger, also known as buddy taping” is the best way to prevent further movement and injury. Medical tape is the preferred item for taping but if you are lacking some, you can use masking tape or rubber bandages. The normal healing time for a jammed finger is between four to eight months. This healing time depends on the extent of the jammed finger, the treatment process and age. Unfortunately, age does play a role in healing because the older the bones, the longer it takes to heal. Going in reverse, young children who have jammed fingers can also take a little longer to heal because they refuse treatment or do not keep the proper bandage on their finger.
Prevention And Recovery
The lucky thing about a jammed finger is that it is more common among athletes, so a regular joe shouldn’t worry too much about getting a jammed finger. Below are some tips to help with the recovery process and prevention.
- Apply ice to the affected every 15-20 minutes, even if the swelling has reduced
- Follow the treatment plan accordingly
- Do not exercise or over exert the jammed finger
- Wear the proper protective gear while playing sports
- Seek medical attention if the pain worsens or does not begin to heal within one week