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Have you hurt your finger playing sport?

At this time of year with contact and ball sports back in action, finger injuries are all too common. Working at rugby on the weekend I commonly have 2 dislocations and a few sprains just through the course of the afternoon. So what are the different injuries we come across?


Fractures of the fingers/thumb/hand are common in ball sports and during contact. Sometimes these are easy to pick up; sometimes they may just be a small chip of bone which if not picked up, may continue to affect the function of the joint.

Dislocations are very common in ball sports. Often the joint requires an Xray to check that a fracture hasn’t happened either during the dislocation or in putting the joint back in. Ligament sprains/ruptures will often happen with dislocations and occasionally disruption of the tendons in the area occur.

Tendon injuries are common when fingers become caught in opponent’s jerseys, if a ball hits the end of the finger or if the hand makes contact with the ground. Again these may be very sore at the time or may occur unnoticed until the following day when you suddenly can’t bend or straighten the finger.

A thorough assessment is needed in the clinic to try and work out the specific structures that have been damaged. Following this we will often make up a splint to protect the injured structure and allow it to heal. Often these splints can be played in so people can return to sport with the splint strapped on and the splint is normally needed for 6-8 weeks for sport as well as everyday life. Following removal of the splint, range of movement and strengthening exercises may be needed to return the joint to optimal function.

So if you manage to hurt your finger/hand playing sport this winter, don’t let it stop you from working or playing sport to your full potential. Drop in to see our physio’s and we’ll give you a diagnosis and treatment plan to fix the problem.