How to Treat a Jammed Finger

  • Date:
    Aug 4, 2011

If you've played basketball for any amount of time, this probably has happened to you.

You're going up for a rebound. Or you're trying to steal a pass from the other team. Or your dribbling was disrupted by a defender.

Whatever the case, the ball was deflected and awkwardly struck the tip of one of your fingers. In most cases, the pain isn't serious, but it's real.

You may have a jammed finger. Even though the ball might have hit the tip of your finger, the injury actually occurs in the knuckle because that's where the brunt of the trauma is absorbed.

A jammed finger is swollen, hard to bend and somewhat painful. It is a common basketball injury.

If your finger looks crooked or dislocated or is unbearably painful, see a doctor immediately. You may have broken your finger, which is more serious. But if your finger looks normal except for a little swelling and stiffness, a doctor may not be necessary.

As with any trauma-induced swelling, the popular "RICE" method should be used on a jammed finger. This involves resting it, icing it, compressing it with a wrap and elevating it.

Applying ice to a fresh injury will reduce swelling, which is the immediate goal of RICE treatment. So, too, will elevating it so blood moves away from the injury.

After a few days of rest and ice, slowly begin to work your finger back into shape. Start to bend it slightly--putting yourself only through minimal pain--as you work the swelling out of the joint. You know your body best so trust your pain tolerance. If it still hurts, don't push it.

In most cases, a little ice, a little rest and a little time is all that's needed to mend a jammed finger. Some injuries are more serious and require the attention of a doctor.

Either way, your finger should recover before long and before you know it, you'll be back on the court healthier than ever.

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