How to relieve a sprained finger
A sprained finger is graded based on the injury sustained by the ligament. Grade and 1 and 2 sprains damages the ligament fibers but some parts of the ligaments are still intact. When it comes to a grade 3 sprained finger, there is complete tear of the ligament along with swelling of the fingers and difficulty in moving the affected area. A bruise can develop and a popping sound can be heard at the time of the injury.
The fingers can be easily injured especially when playing sports. The ligaments are strong fibers that attach the bones with one another and make it stable when the fingers are bending and straighten. Ligament sprains occurs when these joints become overstretched. Additionally, ligaments can tear during a fracture.
Treatment for a minor case of a sprained finger
- Take plenty of rest especially the affected area. Avoid performing activities that can cause severe pain.
- Splint the affected finger next to the adjacent finger or “buddy tapping”. A finger splint can also be used for this condition.
- Apply an ice pack on the sprained finger at least 15-20 minutes several times every day on the first 3 days after the injury. Avoid placing the ice pack directly on the skin to prevent frostbite as well as making the condition worse. Wrap the ice pack in a piece of small cloth or towel before applying on the area.
- Wrap the affected finger using an elastic bandage to lessen the swelling. Begin wrapping at the tip of the finger, overlapping half of the width of the bandage until reaching the bottom of the finger. Avoid wrapping it too tight to prevent any disruption in blood circulation. If the tip of the finger turns blue or gray and tingles, loosen the bandage.
- Avoid making the fingers immobile for too long. Gently bend the fingers gradually until a full fist is made to prevent stiffness of the fingers.
A partial ligament tear can cause a longer period of immobility, usually about 12 weeks and there is a higher risk of permanent stiffness of the fingers. This condition requires the guidance of a physical therapist for exercises for the fingers to prevent them from becoming stiff. After 3 days, apply a warm compress on the affected fingers for at least 15-20 minutes several times every day to promote proper blood circulation in the area and minimize the stiffness and pain on the finger.
An untreated complete ligament tear will make the finger unstable and there is difficulty in performing daily activities. The condition can lead to chronic pain and early development of arthritis. Surgery is required to deal with a form torn ligament, especially if the fibers of the ligaments are in the area of the joint. It takes about 3 weeks for the condition to heal. After the surgery, the affected sprained finger requires extensive rehabilitation.