untitled1 During basketball season you may think that knee injuries are the most common amongst athletes. However, there is one injury that a large majority of players have had but did not hit the headlines on Sports Center. One of the most common basketball is a “jammed” finger. Typically, a “jammed” finger occurs from a blunt impact or forced motion to the proximal interphalangeal joint (AKA the PIP joint) of the fingers. An example of this impact is when a player attempts to catch a pass and the basketball collides with the tip of the finger. There are varying degrees of this injury. Depending on how severe the impact is, there can be stress of the ligaments at the PIP joint. In the more serious cases you want to rule out a fracture or dislocation of the finger. Although the finger may look a bit deformed after suffering a “jammed” finger, there is a chance that it is just a simple jam rather than a more serious injury.

Symptoms of a “jammed” finger include swelling, loss of range of motion (ROM), pain, and tenderness to touch. While this injury is common on the basketball court, it can also occur while untitledplaying baseball, or even falling while riding a bike. Depending on the severity of the injury, the healing process can take from two to eight weeks.

Treatment in most cases includes RICES (rest, ice, compression, elevation, stabilization) therapy which involves the following steps: resting the injured finger/hand; icing the finger 15 minutes every hour for the first 48 hours; compressing the finger with a splint to keep it from bending (this is also stabilization); and elevating the finger above chest level. After 48 hours, switch over from ice to heat.untitled3

If symptoms persist or worsen, or if full ROM does not return in a matter of days, be sure to consult with an orthopedic physician. At your visit you will likely take X-ray to rule out a finger fracture, and may be prescribed anti-inflammatory medications to help reduce swelling. Your orthopedic surgeon may also have an athletic trainer or physical therapist create a customized stretching and strengthening home exercise program during the rehabilitation stage. Formal therapy may be required in more severe cases.

In some cases a “jammed” finger can result in a Mallet Finger. Mallet Finger is another common injury in basketball players, but can also occur in baseball and football. Mallet Finger can be the result of the extensor tendon, which straightens the tip of the finger, being torn from its attachment on the bone, or from a small fracture in the bone. Usually the fingertip will be very sensitive, painful, and swollen. Along with pain, you may not be able to fully extend the tip of the finger. This is a more serious injury and requires a visit to your orthopedic surgeon. If left untreated, Mallet Finger can cause irreparable loss or motion to the fingertip (a droop at the tip) and a cosmetic deformity. Fortunately, functional problems are rare. In some extreme cases of Mallet Finger, doctors may recommend surgery to correct the deformity. These cases are rare and usually surgery is only needed if there is a large fracture of the bone in association with the injury.

As with most other injuries, early detection and treatment can lead to a full recovery. Physicians will usually recommend the use of ice to reduce the swelling and pain at the fingertip. In addition, like with a “jammed” finger, a small splint is typically used to enable the finger to heal fully straight. The splint may have to be worn for up to six weeks. No worries, you will still have full function of your hand, this splint only covers a portion of the finger. If you remove the splint too early, you may jeopardize the healing that has occurred and the finger could return to a bent position.

Although this injury may not seem very devastating, and may not have you out of your sport for very long, you must care for your fingers and hands as they are very important to daily activity.

Provided By Primus Sports Medicine Staff