Understanding common finger injuries and how they occur provides valuable insight on prevention. The following injuries are the different categories of injuries most commonly suffered by athletes.
Grappz are a state of the art hand wrap designed to protect athletes whose activities are prone to finger injury. In today’s world, an athlete who receives a finger injury not only suffers time off but is also affected in all areas of life such using a computer for work or school and other day-to-day activities.
Injury: Finger Fracture
Description: Broken finger bone. The four front digits have three bones called the phalanges: proximal (closest) phalanx, middle phalanx, and distal (furthest) phalanx. In a fracture, the phalanx itself breaks. Fractures most likely also come with other injuries including tendon and ligament damage.
Causes: Crushing impact. Jammed fingers: direct impact to finger tip
Aftermath: Tape fractured finger to adjacent finger to provide stability (Grappz automatically conjoins the fingers). Then get to a doctor for realignment and further treatment.
Description: A dislocation occurs when a bone is pushed out of alignment from its joints. Directional impact to the bone pushes the finger in a direction where it is not meant to bend.
Causes: Direct impact, collision, falling while outstretched
Aftermath: Once you have dislocated a joint you are more susceptible to more dislocations, it is advisable to work with a physical therapist or a doctor to do strength and stability exercises
Description: Sprains are the stretching and tearing of a ligament –tough bands of tissue that connects two bones together in joints. Sprains or hypertensions are a painful joint alignment injury that is similar but less severe than a dislocation. They are both caused when a joint is extended out of its normal alignment. Hyperextended fingers do not dislocate fully but can cause strain in ligaments and tendons.
Causes: Falling while outstretched, jammed fingers (directional impact at the tip), directional impact pushing finger against the joint
Aftermath: Rest and apply ice. Prevent movement during healing by applying buddy taping technique. Slip on a pair of Grappz for added stability and protection
Description: Sprains are the stretching and tearing of a ligament. Fingers have no muscles; tendons extend from knuckles to tip, allowing for movement. Comes with acute pain.
Causes: Twisting, pulling, too much force placed on finger
Injury: Mallet Finger
Description: The inability to extend or straighten end joint of finger without assistance or a lot of pain. Fingers have no muscles; tendons extend from knuckles to tip, allowing for movement. In Mallet finger, the extensor tendon (tendon running along the back of the finger) is torn away from the tip of the finger
Causes: Stubbing or striking the finger-tip (jamming) causing it to bend backwards.
Aftermath: You must wear a splint and keep the finger straight at all times! Failure to do so can result in improper healing and the patient will be left with a drooping finger
Injury: Jersey Finger
Description: Inability to flex finger. Damaged tendon at the base of finger
Causes: Gripping and holding another athlete or another athlete’s clothing
Aftermath: Use ice, rest, and consult specialist for further treatment or surgery
Injury: Boutonnierre Deformity
Affects: Knuckle joints, tendons
Description: Finger resembles an ocean wave. The first knuckle protrudes, the second knuckle flexes inwards, and last knuckle protrudes. Pain occurs in middle knuckle and deformity is often distinctively visible. [See: Keenan Cornelius fingers]
Causes: Impact to the top of the finger (jams), gripping another athlete or another athlete’s clothing, consecutive sprains
Aftermath: Wearing a splint, surgery
Injury:Metacarpophalangeal (MCP) sprain
Description: Sprain effecting ligaments in knuckle closest to hand bones. Painful and can come with dislocation. Usually to the thumb
Causes: Trauma to the joint.
Aftermath: R.I.C.E treatment, rest, sometimes surgery if dislocation is involved.