Finger Sprains

What are finger sprains, and how are they treated?

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A sprained finger occurs when you stretch or tear a ligament (stretched soft tissues) in the finger.

Finger sprains are commonly caused by falling on an outstretched hand or by repeated activities that place prolonged stress on the joint capsule of the finger.

Sprained fingers can be very painful and usually cause swelling and stiffness in the finger.

If you are experiencing pain in the finger, hand, wrist, or elbow from a recent injury, schedule a consultation with the team at OrthoNeuro.

Our orthopedic surgeons provide state-of-the-art diagnosis and personalized treatment. So call or book an appointment now.

What Are the Causes of a Sprained Finger?

Finger sprains are quite common. Most finger sprains are caused by trauma to the finger from things such as sports injuries, taking a fall, or a car accident.

A sprained finger can also result from bending the finger in the wrong direction or too far backward (hyperextension).

Those with weak ligaments or problems with coordination and balance are more likely to sprain their fingers.

What Are the Symptoms of a Sprained Finger?

A sprained finger and a broken finger have similar symptoms.

Broken fingers occur when there is trauma to the bone. Broken fingers often cause more severe pain and require immediate medical care.

Sprained fingers occur when there is trauma to the fingers’ ligaments (soft connective tissues).

Some signs and symptoms of a sprained finger are:

  • Hearing a tear or pop in your finger at the time of the injury
  • Stiffness in the injured finger
  • Swelling at the injured joint of the finger
  • Tenderness of your finger joint
  • Pain when trying to move the finger

How Are Finger Sprains Diagnosed?

A physician will diagnose a sprained finger by examining you and asking about the injury and your symptoms.

Your physician will then feel your finger joints for swelling and have you extend your finger to examine its range of motion.

Your healthcare professional may order diagnostic tests such as an MRI or an X-ray of the finger to look for a possible fracture in the bone.

Based on the information your physician collects, they will diagnose your finger sprain on a scale of 1 to 3 based on the degree of severity.

The degrees of joint sprain severity are listed and explained below:

Grade 1 (first-degree sprain): Mild sprains are when there is damage to a few fibers in the ligament. Symptoms may not be fully apparent right after the incident. There might be a feeling of stiffness in the finger and some loss of function. This type of injury can most likely heal relatively quickly.

Grade 2 (second-degree sprain): Moderate sprains are when the ligament is partially torn. There is usually severe pain and loss of finger function immediately after the injury.

Grade 3 (third-degree sprain): A severe sprain is an injury where the ligament is completely torn and separated from the bone. Severely torn ligaments are severely painful and take longer to heal than a moderate and mild sprain. In this case, there is no mobility in the finger, and surgery may be required to repair the damage.

What Is the Treatment for a Sprained Finger?

Sprained finger treatment usually includes resting the finger and restricting its mobility.

Some of the treatments for a sprained finger include:

  • Wearing a finger brace or splint to immobilize the finger
  • Applying an ice pack to the finger every 10 to 15 minutes to reduce swelling
  • Take anti-inflammatory medications prescribed by your doctor to reduce pain and swelling

When your finger heals, you may begin to gain strength and flexibility in your finger with the help of performing exercises with a physical or occupational therapist.

Severe finger sprains may require surgery to repair the ligaments in the finger.

Contact Us

If you have pain in your finger from a recent injury and would like to know if you have a sprained finger, schedule a consultation online today at OrthoNeuro.

Our orthopedic surgeons provide state-of-the-art diagnosis and personalized treatment.

Make an Appointment with an OrthoNeuro Specialist Today!

If you have symptoms of a finger sprain, schedule an appointment with one of our Board Certified Orthopedic and Sports Medicine Specialists at one of our 7 convenient locations throughout Greater Columbus. 

Best of all, most patients can be seen within 24 hours of making an appointment.

Hand and Wrist Specialists

You use your hands, wrists, and elbows all the time. Don’t let pain interfere with your quality of life or independence. Call OrthoNeuro today or make an appointment online if you have persistent pain in your hand, wrist, or elbow that limits your movement or independence.

James C. Cassandra, DO

Orthopedic Hand & Elbow Surgeon

Gary M. Millard, DO

Orthopedic Hand & Elbow Surgeon

Desmond J. Stutzman, DO

Orthopedic Hand & Elbow Surgeon

“I love this group of Doctors. They have specialists to cover what ever part of the body is in need of treatment. Every doctor i have seen in this practice have had a very good bedside manner and very knowledgeable. I highly recommend this practice for all your orthopedic and neurological needs”

Teresa H.