A jammed finger or broken finger is a common injury that often happens to athletes who play volley, basketball or other sports. However, this can also happen during other activities that do not involve sports, such as simple household chores. How do you know whether your finger is broken or just sprained?
You may have a jammed finger or broken joint if you suddenly cannot move it normally and you feel a sharp shooting pain. It may get better after a few days, but it is best to see a doctor if your symptoms persist or get worse.
Do I Have a Jammed Finger? What Can I Do?
Your knuckles (also calledinter-phalangeal joints) have ligaments that make up the joint capsule. These ligaments that connect the small bones together may be damaged or sprained due to a significant force during sports or other activities, causing a jammed finger.
What Are the Symptoms?
A jammed finger or broken joint will cause swelling, pain and weakness of the finger. Your knuckle will swell and it may take more than a few weeks to go away. Sometimes, depending on the severity of the sprain, swelling may persist, but the pain can be relieved soon and the ability to move the finger may improve quickly.
How to Deal With a Jammed Finger
- Take ibuprofen. Ibuprofen can effectively reduce swelling and pain in any part of the body, including a jammed finger or broken joint.
- Rule out broken bones. A jammed finger can result from broken bones or fractures. If you try moving your finger in every direction and you feel a sharp pain which prevents you from moving it, you may have a broken finger. Go to a doctor right away.
- Rest your finger. The simplest way to relieve pain is to rest your finger until it gets better. You may have a more serious injury if you continue using your hand after suffering from a finger injury.
- Apply ice. Reduce swelling further by applying ice wrapped in thin cloth or towel to your jammed finger or broken joint. Do this for 20 minutes every hour if pain persists.
- Use the adjacent finger as a splint. To immobilize your jammed finger, use the next finger as a splint by simply taping the injured finger to it. This will protect your injured finger from inadvertently getting hit against something, causing delayed healing.
When to See a Doctor
A jammed finger is a very common sports injury, but it is often overlooked. It is a good thing that a little rest and some ice can promote healing to get it back to normal. However, if you develop a lot of pain and swelling, do not assume that it is just a jammed finger. You may need to consult a doctor for further examination through X-ray to rule out a fracture.
Do I Have a Broken Finger? What Can I Do?
A broken finger frequently causes immediate pain and deformity after trauma. You can also have a dislocated joint. Even without a deformity, you will experience a sharp pain at the injured site.
What Are the Symptoms?
- A broken finger often results in swelling, bruising, and stiffness around 5-10 minutes after an injury. These symptoms may also affect other fingers.
- Numbness can occur when swelling causes compression of nerves. It may not be a definite sign of a broken finger, but it’s best to have it checked out.
- Exposed bone fragments are an indication that you should go to the emergency room immediately. This is known as an open fracture, which can be serious, since it can lead to an infection if exposed for a long period.
How to Deal With a Broken Finger
If you have the symptoms mentioned above, you may have a jammed finger or broken finger. See a doctor right away, but make sure to use a simple splint to stabilize your finger. Apply an ice pack right away to reduce swelling and pain.
If you have a broken finger, your doctor will do a reduction procedure to set your finger back in place.
To help your broken finger heal faster, it must be kept still using plaster cast or splint. However, serious fractures may need wires, plates and screws to stabilize the broken fragments of bone. This may take four to six weeks to heal.
In most cases, you will be allowed to go home after the finger is stabilized. At home, be sure to keep your finger stable for quicker recovery. Do not disturb the splint or plaster cast and hold your finger or hand in correct position. Keep the area dry, clean and elevated to reduce swelling. Try not to use the hand for any activity until it gets better.
Your orthopedic surgeon may ask you to go back for follow-up a week after the injury. He may have to check your fracture with an x-ray to make sure that the bones are correctly aligned to promote better healing and prevent permanent disability.