Treatment of Sprained Finger

by Sharon Hopkins

Each of your fingers consists of three small bones with two joints separating them. On either side of the joints are collateral ligaments that support the bones and assist in their movement and flexibility. Fingers can flex and extend, however if any impact or injury causes them to move sideways; the joint or ligaments can get sprained or dislocated. Fingers are especially susceptible to injury if you play any type of sports because of their vulnerable location and their delicate structure. For example, if you play basketball or baseball, the ends of your fingers run the risk of absorbing the direct force of the ball. Depending on the size and speed of the external object, the ligaments may be sprained or the bone may be fractured. Symptoms of a sprained finger include localized swelling, tenderness of the joint, and restriction of movements such as extension and flexion. Symptoms are usually aggravated when performing activities that use the hand such as writing, picking up objects, cooking, and opening doors.

In cases of minor sprains or injuries, the application of an ice pack to the affected area will help reduce the swelling and pain. Icing should be carried out every two hours for the first 48 hours after the injury. Medications such as anti-inflammatory drugs and painkillers can help cope with the aftermath of the injury. For moderate finger sprains, there may be swelling throughout the length of the finger which could limit the range of movement. In addition to icing the joint, cold-water immersion also helps reduce inflammation and pain of the injured tissue and ligaments. Simply take a large cup or bowl of ice water and immerse the entire finger. Keep immersed until the water returns to room temperature. Many doctors may tape (buddy-tape or splint) the injured finger to a healthy finger next to it. This protective tape will reduce the impact of any further injury to the damaged finger. When applying the tape you must make sure that the joints are not restricted. As the finger heals, restricting the joints will only prevent the natural flexion and extension of the fingers. Other treatments for a sprained finger include keeping the finger elevated if there is swelling, resting the finger, and gently moving the finger to prevent stiffness.


As the pain and swelling of a sprained finger subsides, you can take the necessary steps to strengthen the joint and ligaments and restore the range of motion. Exercises for a sprained finger help improve muscle strength and speeds up the healing process as well. You can try the following exercises but not before getting the all-clear from your doctor - as premature rehabilitation of a sprained joint can cause more harm than good.

  1. Sock Exercise: Roll up a sock into a ball and place it in the palm of your hand. Wrap your fingers around the sock and press down as much as possible without causing any pain to the sprained fingers. Hold the grip for ten seconds at a time and release. Instead of a sock you can use a tennis ball. Repeat this exercise ten times a day for the best results.
  2. Open / Close Hand: Curl and tighten your fingers into a fist and then straighten them out as much as possible. Repeat this exercise ten times as long as there is no change or increase in the pain and swelling.
  3. Finger Adduction to Abduction: Spread your fingers as far apart as possible and return to starting position. Repeat for ten times.
  4. Physiotherapy: Various physiotherapy treatments can also help heal a sprained finger. These include soft tissue massage, electrotherapy, finger bracing, heat treatments, and an activity modification plan.

Warning: The reader of this article should exercise all precautionary measures while following instructions on the home remedies from this article. Avoid using any of these products if you are allergic to it. The responsibility lies with the reader and not with the site or the writer.
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