While a sprained finger can be trivial for some athletes - rugby players typically ignore anything less than the loss of a limb - for others it can be a problematic injury.
Sprained fingers can occur in a number of sports including rugby, football (goal keepers especially), basketball, netball, and martial arts.
A sprained finger occurs when the ligaments of the fingers or thumb are stretched, often from a blow or fall onto the hand.
Typical symptoms include pain, swelling, and tenderness. If pain is severe, an x-ray may be needed to ensure that there is no bone fracture.
Treatment is conservative - this often involves either splinting, or what is called
buddy taping - where the finger is taped to an adjacent one to support it.
However, as soon as is practical, you should begin to move the injured area - typically within about a week. Keeping the splint in place too long can cause it to stiffen up.
Other treatments include:
- Ice packs and heat treatments - these can reduce pain and increase blood flow to the area
- Elevation to reduce swelling
- NSAIDs (Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs) such as ibuprofen
- Regular painkillers (analgesics)