Jammed Finger

A jammed finger is a term used to describe a variety of injuries. The injuries usually involve the joint in the middle of the finger (not the joint near the tip of the finger, and not the joint close to the hand). Usually, a jammed finger involves injured tendons or ligaments (sprain).

CAUSES

"Jamming" a finger usually refers to "stubbing" the finger on an object, such as a ball during an athletic activity. Usually, the joint is extended at the time of injury, and the blow forces the joint further into extension than it normally goes.

SYMPTOMS

  • Pain.

  • Swelling.

  • Discoloration and bruising around the joint.

  • Difficulty bending, straightening, and using the finger normally.

DIAGNOSIS

An X-ray may be done to make sure there is no broken bone (fracture).

TREATMENT

  • Put ice on the injured area.

  • Put ice in a plastic bag.

  • Place a towel between your skin and the bag.

  • Leave the ice on for 15-20 minutes at a time, 03-04 times a day.

  • Raise (elevate) the affected finger above the level of your heart to decrease swelling.

  • Take medicine as directed by your caregiver.

Depending on the type of injury, your caregiver may also recommend that you:

  • "Buddy tape" the injured finger to the finger or fingers beside it.

  • Wear a protective splint.

  • Do strengthening exercises after the finger has begun to heal.

  • Do physical therapy to regain strength and mobility in the finger.

  • Follow up with a hand specialist.

HOME CARE INSTRUCTIONS

Avoid activities that may injure the finger again until it is totally healed.

SEEK IMMEDIATE MEDICAL CARE IF:

  • You develop pain that is more severe.

  • You develop increased swelling.

  • There is an obvious deformity in the joint.

  • You have severe bruising.

  • You have red or blue discoloration.

  • You or your child has an oral temperature above 102° F (38.9° C), not controlled by medicine.

  • You have an abnormally cold finger.

  • Feeling in your finger is absent or decreasing.

MAKE SURE YOU:

  • Understand these instructions.

  • Will watch your condition.

  • Will get help right away if you are not doing well or get worse.