Home Treatment for Sprained Finger - Health Education - DesiMD Healthcare - India

Home Treatment for Sprained Finger

Authored by DesiMD Doctor on 24 Feb 2016 - 10:17
A sprained finger occurs when the finger is bent in some way causing damage to the ligaments (A sheet of tough fibrous tissue connecting bones). It especially occurs when you play any sport/games such as handball, basketball or netball and can also occur due to specific incidents such as a hyperextension force (backward bending of the finger) or a sideways force. It occasionally occurs due to repetitive strain associated with overuse. This may be the case in patients who perform repetitive activities involving end of range, movements of the fingers and therefore proper care must be taken to protect your fingers while involving in such activities.
Excluding the thumb, each of the 4 fingers consists of 3 small bones known as phalanges. These small bones join with each other at the IP joints (Interphalangeal Joints) and to the bones of the palm (metacarpals) at the MCP joints (metacarpophalangeal joints) forming 3 joints for each finger. Each of these joints comprises of strong connective tissue wrapping around the bony ends and cartilage which lies between the joint surfaces, cushioning the impact of one bone on another during activity.
Sprained finger can result in moderate to intense pain.  It is diagnosed as:
  • First degree sprain: First degree sprain finger is usually moderate and that’s, because the ligaments are flexible and not torn. The person may complain of swelling and pain near the injured joint. However, the person may be able to stretch the finger only to some extent because of the swelling inside the joint. The strength of the finger is generally not influenced and hence, the person is not restricted from using the finger. However, it is recommended to tape the wounded finger in order to avoid further injury. Average healing time for first degree pain ranges from two to six weeks.
  • Second degree sprain: As compared to the first degree, the ligaments and joint capsule are more damaged in the second degree, resulting in more pain and swelling, extending throughout the finger for the first few hours. The joint may also be painful to touch, particularly over the wounded site. Here, a ligament stress test is executed, resulting in a visual opening of the joint line. However, there will be an end point suggesting that the ligament is not completely torn. Average healing time for a second degree sprain ranges from 8 to 12 weeks.
  • Third degree sprain: Third degree sprain is the most intense pain that results in a complete tear of the ligament. It is frequently connected with a sublauxation (partial displacement of a joint) or dislocation of the finger. The person will observe a dislocation of the finger due to the severe pain and obvious malformation of the finger. Symptoms of this category include intense pain, swelling and change in the color.  If you suspect you have a third degree sprain, get an x-ray done, to rule out a possible fracture.
Home treatment to cure sprained finger (as suggested by the University of Maryland Medical Center):
  • Splint your finger by taping it to the finger next to it, called as buddy wrapping. This will provide support to the injured finger and protects it.
  • Treat your sprained finger with R.I.C.E (rest, ice, compression and elevation). Use ice wrapped in a cloth or towel. Care should be taken not to apply ice directly to the affected area. It is recommended that ice should be applied for nearly 15 to 20 minutes several times continuously for the first 3 days after the injury. Ice application should be carried out every 2 hours to cure the sprained finger.
  • Wrap your finger with an elastic bandage to reduce swelling
  • Stop or take a break from the activities that aggravate your symptoms
  • Anti-inflammatory drugs and painkillers like aspirin and ibuprofen can help cope with the aftermath of the injury
  • Studies have shown that applying topical cream like diclofenac diethylamine (DDEA) 2.3% gel two times a day helps improves function, relieves pain and speeds up recovery time.
  • After the first 3 days of healing, your doctor may instruct you to apply heat to your finger for 15 minutes, several times every day, to increase blood flow and reduce stiffness and pain
  • As the swelling and pain subsides, you can carry out the necessary steps to strengthen the joint and ligaments and restore the range of motion. Exercise for a sprained finger can help improve muscle strength and speed up the healing process as well.
Symptoms of sprained finger:
  • A feeling of popping or tearing inside the finger
  • Severe pain at the time of injury
  • Swelling and later bruising in the finger
  • Not able to use the injured finger.

Reference : University of Maryland Medical Center


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