You will be asked about your symptoms and how you injured your finger. The doctor will look at your finger.
Pictures may be taken of your finger. This can be done with:
- MRI scan (rarely)
Finger sprains are graded from 1 to 3:
- Stretching and microtearing of ligament
- Stable joint
- Partial tearing of ligament
- Mild instability of the joint
- Severe or complete tearing of ligament
- Significant instability of the joint
Treatment may include:
RICE therapy may be advised to reduce discomfort:
- Rest—Take a break from the activity that caused the pain. This is often enough to clear up the problem within several weeks.
- Ice—Use ice in 15-minute periods during the first 24 hours and for several days after if needed. Do not put ice right on the skin. Ice helps with swelling, inflammation, and pain.
- Compression—Wearing an elastic compression bandage may help prevent swelling. It also supports the finger and nearby tissues.
- Elevation—Keep the hand raised for the first 24 hours, even when you sleep. This helps with swelling.
In addition to RICE therapy, anti-inflammatory medicines can help with pain.
Splinting and Taping
A splint may be needed to keep the finger in place. The finger may need to be taped to the finger next to it when you go back to sports. This is known as buddy taping.
Surgery may be needed to repair a finger sprain if:
- A small piece of bone has been broken off
- A ligament is torn completely
This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.
Edits to original content made by Denver Health.
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American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine http://www.sportsmed.org
OrthoInfo—American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons http://orthoinfo.aaos.org
Canadian Orthopaedic Association http://www.coa-aco.org
Canadian Orthopaedic Foundation http://www.canorth.org
Derry S, Moore RA, Gaskell H, McIntyre M, Wiffen PJ. Topical NSAIDs for acute musculoskeletal pain in adults. Cochrane Database Syst Rev.2015;(6):CD007402.
Sprains and strains: What's the difference? Ortho Info—American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons website. Available at: http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=A00111. Updated July 2015. Accessed June 11, 2018.