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How To Treat a Jammed or Sprained Finger For Sports

What Happens First

First of all, let's start with the fact that if you sprain your finger, Jams it, etc. it will most likely swell up. 

That's typical, and fingers tend to stay swollen for a while regardless of how serious the injury is. 

And the reason is that because we're standing up right and our hands just go to our sides, all gravity does is push that fluid down. 

So you're going to have a fat finger for a while. So I want to talk about the best way to combat that, and it's NOT ice. 

Let's say I injured my index finger. 

If the finger gets jammed, get sprained, pulled back, whatever, and you immediately see bruising, so it's black and blue and really swollen, that's a good indicator that you should probably go get an X-ray. 

[ Watch video version below]

The reason the bruising happens, whether it's immediate or within a few hours of the injury, is that there could be a tear of a soft tissue, meaning tendons or ligaments, and that causes that bleeding in there. 

 ***Pro Tip: By the way, my favorite way to help get rid of bruising faster is using Arnica Gel and applying it like 2-3 times a day ;) ***


So you want to rule that out. 

Or, there could be a fracture, which means there could be a break in the bone. 

So you want to check that out. 

Now, let's say that you do go get an X Ray and it's cleared, meaning you don't have a fracture, you don't have a tear. 

Now, you've just got a sprained finger. 

And those can be pretty debilitating for several weeks. 

People usually say, "Oh, it's just a sprained finger." 

But depending on where, and which hand, if it's the dominant hand and depending on what sport your child is doing, it can be pretty detrimental to their performance. 

So I want to give you some tips as to how to remedy that and help fight that swelling, because that's going to be our biggest, most annoying thing. 

So like I said, the swelling is going to linger on for several weeks if we just don't do anything about it, and only icing it is not going to get the job done. 

My Recommendation

First, let me mention that a lot of people, typically, will use a hard splint like this one to immobilize the finger to protect it, and that's fine. 

HOWEVER, I recommend saving that only for cases that there is a tear or a fracture because in those cases you are going to need to have that finger immobilized, and they're not going to be able to be playing sports anyway, so that makes sense. 

HOWEVER, if it's only a sprain and we're just dealing with a swollen finger that has some pain, doing that and restricting that range of motion, is actually going to kind of hold them from being able to get better, faster.

Now, a way to still protect it and remedy that is by using the buddy tape method, which I'm sure that you've heard of. 

I'm sure you've seen this used. This is just a half inch, half a quarter inch, sports tape. 

And what you do, let's say I injured my index finger, above the knuckle and below the knuckle is where we're going to tape it to it's buddy, to the other finger. 

And so you will do that above and below the knuckle. 

And this method, the buddy tape method, is going to act sort of like a splint. It's going to help protect the finger from bending back again, especially when it's vulnerable and still in that range, but still allow them to play. 

You can get thin sports tape, just like this, on Amazon or pretty much anywhere.

So that's one way. 

But my favorite way to tape fingers- again-this is in the case that it's just a sprain, there's no tears, there's no fractures, we're just dealing with a swollen, fat finger, that hurts. 

But, within those limits, they can still play and practice. 

My favorite thing to do is use this kind of tape: this is elastic tape. 

Specifically, the kind I like to use is called PowerFlex, and it is amazing. It's one of my favorite things. 

And if you wear this around all day, it's going to act as a mini compression sleeve, and it's wonderful for getting rid of that swelling. 

Like I said, swelling tends to linger on fingers for several weeks if all you're doing is leaving it alone or icing it. 

And so this is really a way to kind of jumpstart that. 

Sort of a hack, if you will. 

This is the insider secrets that you're getting here from an Athletic Trainer. 

That's great, but let's say they have practice and they're still able to do practice. 


So what we want to do is then further protect that. 


You're going to cut off another strip and we're going to apply that same buddy tape method, that I just showed you, with this tape. 

We're going to do it here. 

And we're going to apply the same principle. 

Above and below the knuckle is where you're going to tape. 

And you're going to tape that to the finger next to it. 

That way it's going to protect it further. 

And what I usually do with my kids, with my athletes, is that I, once that happens, I give them a roll of this to have in their bag. 

And I make sure to tell them to wear this during school. 

And essentially at all times, at least the mini compression sleeve, because it's really going to do wonders for that swelling faster than anything else. 

And that's it. 

So now it's protected and you're ready to play. 

Check Out The Video Here:





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