"It's just my finger, don't worry about it, it will get better in a few days..!"
A common (and painful) injury in ball sports is the sprained, dislocated and or fractured finger. In the hills we also see these injuries in people working with horses and cattle, when the finger is forcefully pushed against a gate, or in people falling over on slippery paths in winter.
Dorsal PIPJ dislocation usually occurs from hyperextension of the middle bone of the finger- stretching the ligaments on the palm side of the joint. In some instances, middle bone of the finger is pushed right out of joint and becomes stuck on top of the longer finger bone.
People are often tempted to put their finger back into place themselves. But DIY relocation could harmfully move a fractured bone, or entrap a surrounding tissue in the joint space (e.g. a ligament, nerve or artery). This may lead to longer term pain, stiffness & deformity.
We don't need to look far to see examples of retired football players with fingers riddled with arthritis!
A sprained finger will be painful, swollen, and discoloured. Applying ice and compression as soon as possible and buddy taping to a neighbouring finger may assist with continued game play.
However if the finger is not sitting straight or moving normally it is best to get it x-rayed, as there is likely ligament +/- bony damage. And if left untreated or not treated correctly and early, this injury can get worse over time and result in repeat dislocations, painful joint deformities and possibly surgery.
So please don't ignore that finger sprain- it might not get better in a few days!
Author Jo Marsh
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