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Finger and Hand Injuries

Hand and finger injuries include a range of conditions, including fractures, sprains, and cuts. You may have a finger or hand injury as a result of an accident, sports activity, or repetitive strain. Hand and finger injuries can lead to pain, swelling, and impaired function. If you have a finger or hand injury contact your doctor for diagnosis and treatment.

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What Are Common Finger and Hand Injuries?

Finger and hand injuries are common among athletes.

Hand and finger injuries occur most often in contact sports, such as those that involve catching a ball or using hand equipment like ski poles, or common sports, like basketball and volleyball. They also occur in high-speed sports like skating and biking.

Common acute finger and hand injuries include:

  • Bruises
  • Ligament damage, such as skier's thumb
  • Tendon injuries, such as mallet finger
  • Joint sprains
  • Muscle strains
  • Fractures
  • Dislocations
  • Crushing injuries

You can also injure your finger or hand from overuse. Overuse injuries include carpal tunnel syndrome and tendinosis.

Any finger or hand injury requires proper treatment to ensure you have no permanent loss of function or deformity.

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What Are the Symptoms of Finger and Hand Injuries?

Injured hand and finger symptoms rarely go unnoticed.

Symptoms of finger injuries (below) can help you tell the difference between a jammed finger and a broken finger.

The most common symptoms of hand and finger injuries are:

  • Pain at the injury point or in your fingers.
  • Inability to move the finger.
  • Limited hand motion.
  • Deformity.
  • Swelling.
  • Bruising.
  • Weakness of the hand.

Tendon pain in the hand may be a sign of tendinosis — a series of very small tears in the tissue surrounding that tendon.

How Are Finger and Hand Injuries Diagnosed?

Because there's a wide range of finger and hand injuries, your doctor will start with a physical exam.

He or she will check:

  • How well you can move your finger.
  • The strength in your fingers or hands.
  • For visual signs of the injury.

Your doctor will also:

  • Discuss your medical history.
  • Ask how and when you injured your finger or hand.
  • Order an x-ray or other imaging scan if he or she suspects a fracture or serious injury.

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What Are the Treatment Options for Finger and Hand Injuries?

Nonsurgical Treatment Options

When you hurt your finger or hand, rest and ice are often the first treatments for broken finger care. You can also take non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) for pain.

For injuries that don’t require surgery, your doctor may treat your finger or hand problem with a:

  • Splint or “buddy taping.” This involves taping one finger to another to keep it from moving.
  • Cast.
  • Brace.

After your finger or hand injury starts to heal, your doctor may prescribe physical therapy.

Surgical Treatment Options

Your doctor will take x-rays to see if you need surgery for a broken finger or broken hand.

In some cases — such as fractures or torn tendons — you may need surgery to repair the damage and restore function to your fingers or hand.

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