Finger Injuries In Basketball And How To Prevent Them
If you've played basketball, whether on a professional level, scholastic team or just leisurely, you’ve very likely sustained a jammed, dislocated or broken finger at some point. These are all common basketball injuries.
When you're going up for a rebound or you're trying to steal a pass or you miscalculate catching the ball then the tip or side of a single finger gets hit and BAM! There’s immediate pain, swelling and lack of mobility in your finger. In most cases, the pain isn't serious, but you feel it. You may have a jammed, broken, or dislocated finger. The injury typically occurs in the knuckle. That's where the brunt of the trauma is absorbed and in some cases, the finger bone is hit with such explosive force that it actually fractures.
We recommend seeing a doctor for any injury, but we’re also aware of an athlete’s drive and competitive spirit to disregard the pain and play on. The popular "RICE" method is typically used to get back on the court as fast as possible: Rest, Ice, Compress and Elevate. Applying ice and elevating the freshly injured finger will reduce swelling by moving the blood away from the injury so the athlete can return to the court ASAP. In addition, if a finger injury occurs, you may not only suffer from time off the court but you can also be affected in numerous areas of life and day-to-day tasks.
When a basketball player sustains a finger injury, they’ll typically do whatever they have to do to keep playing. In the past, this involved taping your fingers together as a splint, or buddy taping. It was the only option to keep playing. It wasn’t ideal but it got the job done. Unfortunately, buddy taping significantly reduces mobility in the fingers due to the lack of elasticity in the tape.
Today, with the progress of wearable technology, Grappz™ finger support compression gloves solve the problem that athletic tape couldn’t. Grappz™ offers finger protection without compromising mobility and they’re as efficient as wearing a compression sleeve. Unlike tape, the 4-way stretch compression fabric has elasticity allowing your fingers to fully retract and extend. This provides mobility to maneuver the ball better than if you tape your fingers. But the compression still tightly conjoins those two fingers together as a splint for support. They’re also quick and easy to apply, machine washable and they’ll never slip off. Wearing Grappz™ supports the healing process, helping counteract pain and swelling, due to all the added benefits of compression fabric. Below are the descriptions, causes and aftermath of the most common finger injuries in basketball.
Common Basketball Injuries:
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.
Crushing impact from explosive collision or ball pass. Direct impact to fingertip from another body part or basketball to breaking point.
Get to a doctor for realignment and possible further treatment then:
- Wear a finger splint (Complete immobilization of the whole finger) OR
- Tape fractured finger to adjacent finger (buddy taping) to provide splint like support but with some mobility.
A dislocation occurs when a bone is pushed/pulled out of alignment from its joints. Directional impact to the bone pushes the finger in a direction where it is not meant to bend.
Direct impact to a single finger, explosive collision onto a hard body part or ground, basketball hitting a single finger, pushing/pulling a single finger in the wrong direction by another player.
Joint must be reset. Swelling of the joint. Once the joint is dislocated it is susceptible to frequent dislocations moving forward. Physical therapy and/or stability exercises are required to retain mobility, stability and strength. R.I.C.E.
Sprains and finger Jams 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.
Using fingers to break a fall in any direction, Jammed finger from any directional impact at the tip or against the joint from a basketball or body part.
Rest, Ice, Compress and Elevate. Minimize use and movement during healing.