What to do About a Fractured or Jammed Finger
If you have injured your finger, you may be wondering whether it’s a fracture or jammed finger. While both conditions can cause pain, each has unique but similar symptoms. This can make it difficult to distinguish between the two.
With a jammed finger, you may experience:
- Difficulty holding things
- Redness and swelling in the injured area
You can get a jammed finger when you smash your finger against something and the force pushes the tip of your finger down towards your hand. In this case, the joint in the middle of your finger absorbs the force of the blow, and the ligament in your finger gets stretched. A jammed finger is a common injury while playing sports, like when you try to catch a ball. Alternately, you might jam it doing something as simple as closing a door or pushing the sheets under the mattress as you make the bed.
Alternately, with a fractured finger you may experience:
- Severe pain
- Inability to bend or straighten your finger
- Swelling in the finger that lasts for hours or days
You can get a fractured finger in the same ways you would get a jammed finger. The only difference is the severity of the injury.
Treating Injured Fingers
When it comes to how to treat your injured finger, it depends on how badly the finger is injured. If the injury is minor, you can try the following:
- Apply ice for fifteen minutes each hour to bring down swelling.
- Keep your finger elevated above your chest.
- Take an over the counter pain reliever such as ibuprofen to ease any discomfort
- If the finger looks like it is out of joint, do not pull on it. Instead, try splinting it or taping it to the neighboring finger
- Keep the finger splinted until the pain stops. This can take about one to two weeks.
For more serious injuries, see a doctor. You may need surgery if you have a bone fracture or a torn ligament or tendon. An x-ray may be necessary to determine if the finger is jammed or if it is fractured instead. You should go to express care when your finger appears misshapen or deformed when the finger is numb, if you notice any signs of infection developing on or around the injury, or if the pain does not improve with rest, ice, elevation, and medication. The Express Care Clinic at Colorado Springs Orthopaedic Group is available to help in these situations.