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Treating a jammed finger

A jammed finger is a type of joint sprain caused by a strong impact to the end of the finger. This condition is common in sports such as basketball, volleyball, football and rugby.

Jammed finger causes damage to the ligaments that surrounds the joints of the fingers and result to a reduced movement in the joint that is affected due to compaction.

Causes of a jammed finger


Jammed finger causes damage to the ligaments that surrounds the joints of the fingers and result to a reduced movement in the joint that is affected due to compaction.

A jammed finger is caused when smashing the finger against something and the force will push the tip of affected finger down toward the hand. The proximal interphalangeal joint found in the middle finger is usually affected where the ligament becomes stretched. A finger can also be jammed while playing sports such as catching a ball or performing something such as closing a door or pushing sheets under the mattress when making the bed.


  • The affected area is swollen, red and painful
  • The tip of the finger droops down
  • Loss of motion and loss of strength
  • Swelling of the joint
  • One of the knuckles will swell

A jammed finger can cause complications such as stiffness of the finger; lingering discomfort and inflammation of the joint known as traumatic arthritis and weakness in the finger. It can also cause deformity of the joint and permanent incapability to straighten the affected finger.


  • Take plenty of rest at least for a couple of weeks for fast healing of the condition.
  • Apply ice on the affected finger for at least 10-15 minutes every hour to lessen the inflammation and the pain. Cold therapy can be in the form of ice cubes, gel packs and bags of frozen vegetables such as peas or corn. Avoid ice directly on the skin. Wrap whatever ice therapy is used using a towel or a cloth before placing to the area to prevent ice burn or frostbite and worsen the condition.
  • Elevate the affected finger above the level of the chest to lessen the swelling and the pain. Raise the affected hand or arm in couple of pillows to keep it elevated.
  • Wear a finger splint to prevent unnecessary movement and keep the affected finger straight while in the healing process for at least 6-8 weeks. Continue wearing the splint when performing sport activities for another 6-8 weeks.
  • Use the prescribed over-the-counter pain medication such as aspirin, ibuprofen or naproxen to lessen the swelling and the pain. Avoid giving aspirin to children below 18 years old to prevent the risk of developing Reye’s syndrome. Another alternative is applying an anti-inflammatory or pain relieving cream or gel to the affected area is also good for the condition.
  • Buddy tape the affected finger while in the healing process. Tape the affected finger next to the adjacent finger for stability of the area and protection from further damage and worsen the condition. Use medical tape in binding the injured area and avoid not taping it too tight to prevent problems with circulation.

More Information

The details posted on this page on a jammed finger is for learning purposes only. To learn to recognize and manage this type of joint injury, enroll in a first aid course with one of our training providers.

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