As we all know, ligaments are tissues, that connect one bone to another in a joint. They hold the bones together during normal movement of the joints. The fingers are primarily made up of 3 bones that are connected by ligaments. When the ligaments of a finger are torn due to excessive stretching, the injury is commonly referred to as sprained finger. However, a minor sprain does not tear the ligaments, but only causes a slight damage to these tissues.
In this type of injury, the damaged area of the finger appears swollen and discolored. Too much bending of the finger can also hurt the ligaments. Sports people are vulnerable to such type of finger injuries. The incidence of sprained finger is significantly higher in sports like weightlifting, wrestling, soccer, and football.
Avoid Activities that Strain the Finger
How can one expect to recover from this finger ligament injury, when it is subjected to excessive pressure due to activities like lifting heavy objects. Whether the injury is mild or moderate, one should intentionally stay away from such activities to speed up healing.
Apply Ice Cubes
An ice pack or ice cubes are commonly applied to the affected finger to reduce the pain and inflammation. Application of ice pack are most effective when applied within 48 hours of injury. Directly applying the ice on the injured finger is not recommended, as it can damage the skin. Instead, one can wrap the ice in a clean cloth and then apply it on the affected finger. Icing the finger for 10-15 minutes every day, can work wonders to alleviate the pain.
Moving the finger, every now and then, can certainly prolong the healing time and aggravate the pain. So,it is necessary to restrict the movement of the finger, which can always be achieved by using a bandage. Keeping the finger immobile, is one of the best ways to heal the injured ligament of the finger.
Anti-inflammatory medications such as ibuprofen are prescribed to decrease the pain. Medicines are used only when the associated discomfort is unbearable. After evaluating the severity of the injury, the doctor will decide the medicine dosage that would help to get rid of the pain and the swelling, at the earliest.
Complete rupture of the ligaments demands a surgery, in order to ensure recovery. Surgery involves reconstructing the torn ligament using a graft and then reattaching it to the bone.
Exercises that strengthen the injured ligament and help to restore normal range of motion, need to be performed, to shorten the recovery time.
How to Wrap a Sprained Finger?
In order to limit mobility, wrapping just the affected finger will not serve the purpose. The bandage should also be wrapped to the adjacent finger. When both the fingers (the injured finger and the one adjacent to it) are wrapped together with an 8-9 inch tape, it can immobilize the injured finger and promote healing.
In most cases, sprained finger is a minor issue and application of ice as well as use of bandage is sufficient enough to heal the injury. Also, one should not be in a hurry to return to normal activities after injury, as it may take around 1-4 weeks to heal. Undue strain on the injured finger can aggravate the inflammation and may lead to irreversible damage.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is solely for educating the reader. It is not intended to be a substitute for the advice of a medical expert.