Sprained Finger Treatment
Sprained Finger Treatment
Our Fingers are one of the most vulnerable parts of our bodies and are easy to injure from physical trauma. Finger sprains are a common injury in ball sports such as; basketball and handball. The severity of damage ranges from a mildly sprained finger which often resolves in a few days to a major rupture of ligaments requiring surgical intervention and weeks of Physiotherapy rehab.
What is a finger sprain?
The term finger sprain is used to describe a medical condition in which stretching, twisting, or compression forces are placed on the finger joints causing the overstretching or tearing of fibers in ligaments, cartilage, and joint capsules. Simultaneously, the blood vessels may rupture resulting in hemorrhage or bleeding into the tissues. The bones of your fingers are connected by ligaments. A violent twisting or abnormal sideways movements of the bones can cause these ligaments to move beyond their range and result in ligament strains or even tears. Common in sport, a forced sudden backward bending of your fingers may sprain and result in an injury of your finger joints and the tendons that cross them. Overuse and repetitive movements of the fingers such as with typing or excessive cell phone use can lead to repetitive stress injuries and finger sprains. Any of injuries to any connective tissue including, the muscles, tendons, ligaments, or joint capsule may be called a finger sprain.
Symptoms of a sprained finger
Symptoms of finger sprains can include; pain at the site of injury, possible snapping sound or sensation, shortly after you may experience swelling in the joint. The swelling and inflammation may make the joint tender and stiff, so you are not able to bend, straighten, and move the finger freely. There may also be some bruising or discolorations due to the bleeding of the ruptured blood vessels.
Treatment of a finger sprains
The awareness of how to deal with finger sprains helps you minimize the damage. With most sprained fingers, there is a good chance of complete recovery with proper care and Physiotherapy. Here is some tips and advice on what to do at home if you have a finger sprain:
- Don’t move your finger: Immediately after the trauma, you should rest your finger joint from any aggravating activity that increases the pain.
- Elevate the affected hand: Lie down and rest your hand on a prop so that it is above the level of your heart.
- Use ice: Apply ice packs to the injury location for 10 minutes hourly. The timing could be reduced as the signs diminish. Be careful not to apply ice directly to the skin to avoid ice burns. You can slide an ice cube over the inflamed finger joint.
- Medication: Anti-inflammatory drugs such as Advil reduce swelling and pain
- Compression Bandage: Elastic compression bandages can be helpful to reduce swelling during the first two days.
- Taping: Taping can be used to protect the injured finger. If you have to use your hand, you should tape the whole finger to the adjacent one, this technique is known as buddy taping. Fingers 1 and 2 or fingers 3 and 4 are usually best taped together.
- Physical therapy: A Physiotherapist is the best person to assess your injury and create a treatment plan for you. A Physiotherapist will initially focus on pain reduction, reducing swelling/inflammation, increasing finger ROM and mobility,and building up strength, dexterity and functional exercises. Example exercises may include using hand exercise balls and similar objects.
Physiotherapy Treatment of a sprained finger
- Massage Therapy
- Ice and heat treatment
- Therapeutic exercises
- Joint fixation or finger splinting
- Functional rehabilitation: Exercises such as hand open and closed, finger adduction to abduction, tennis ball squeeze
- Shockwave Therapy Toronto – ESWT or Radial Shock Wave Therapy can be useful in the treatment of chronic finger sprains of 3 months or more
- Paraffin Wax
- Laser Therapy – Class 3B cold laser therapy can assist to reduce inflammation and pain in acute finger sprains.
- Surgery: In more severe cases where tearing of the ligament or finger tendons have been completely torn