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Jersey Finger

Overview

Are you unable to bend your finger? Injuring your tendon can cause you to have a Jersey Finger. A tendon connects our muscles to our bones. We have two tendons, one on the top part of our hand and one on the palm of our hand. The tendon on the palm of our hand (flexor) allows us to bend our fingers and the one on the top of our hand (extensor) allows us to straighten our finger. The ring finger is involved in 75% of cases according to the National Institute of Health.

A jersey finger got its name due to athletes who grab their opponent’s jersey who is trying to run away. This causes the athlete’s finger to experience an abrupt extension. The athlete will be able to ball up their hand into a tight fist except for one finger. Internally this means the tendon is pulled away from the bone, like the insertion at the tip of the finger. While the example is of contact sports, there are also other sports like rock climbing that experience jersey fingers.

Nonsurgical Treatment Options for Jersey Finger 

During an in-office examination, we will review your hand and fingers. After a quick evaluation, your physician will suggest a treatment plan.

While there are several treatment options we can try, most jersey fingers require surgery to reattach the ligament. You may need surgery sooner depending on how far back your tendon slid back. Here are a few of the nonsurgical options we may suggest before surgery:

  • Ice.​ You should try icing your finger for 20 minutes a day several times a day. However, don’t put the ice pack directly on the skin; wrap your ice pack in a towel.
  • Anti-inflammatory Medication.​ Take an anti-inflammatory like ibuprofen or Advil to reduce the pain and swelling.
  • Finger Splint.​ Your finger will be placed in a splint to allow for healing and prevent further injury.